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Congress aspirants air their disappointment at non-inclusion in Dr Singh's Cabinet
Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad | January 29, 2006 21:33 IST
Several senior Congress leaders, who were aspiring for ministerial berths in Sunday's expansion of the Union Cabinet, are disappointed at their non-inclusion.
Two of the unsuccessful aspirants openly expressed their disappointment while others preferred to confide their aggrieved feelings to their close supporters.
G Venkatswamy, deputy leader of Congress Parliamentary Party in the Lok Sabha, could not conceal his ruffled feelings over his exclusion.
"From the states where the Congress lost, three cabinet-rank ministers were inducted. From Andhra Pradesh, which contributed the largest number of members of Parliament to the ruling coalition, no cabinet rank minister was taken in. Three cabinet-rank ministers were inducted from Maharashtra, where the party runs a coalition government," he observed.
Venkatswamy said injustice was done to Andhra Pradesh, more so to Telangana region. All the three ministers of state from the state sworn in Sunday belonged to coastal Andhra region. Scheduled castes and other weaker sections got a raw deal, he contended.
The 76-year-old Venkatswamy has been angling for a Union Cabinet berth ever since the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government came to power in May 2004. Venkatswamy, who was elected to the Lok Sabha seven times, earlier served as Union deputy minister in Indira Gandhi's cabinet during 1973-77 and as a minister of state and cabinet minister in P V Narasimha Rao cabinet in 1991-96.
Another veteran leader Kavuru Sambasiva Rao, a four-term MP, is also unhappy over his exclusion.
"I have served the party in various capacities for decades. I have strived very hard with all sincerity for the party. I never ever jumped onto Telugu Desam nor had any secret understanding with them. I came to the rescue of party cadres who came under attack during the Telugu Desam regime. I do not know the criterion for the selection of ministers for the Union Cabinet," he said.
In an oblique reference to the induction of Renuka Chowdhury earlier and D Purandareshwari, daughter of Telugu Desam founder and former chief minister N T Rama Rao, into the Manmohan Singh cabinet Sunday, Sambasiva Rao expressed surprise that those who had criticised the Congress and more particularly the Nehru-Gandhi family and served in Telugu Desam before jumping onto the Congress to enjoy power, were accommodated in the latest reshuffle. But such actions of ignoring the loyal Congress leaders would weaken the party, he added.
Similarly, MP from Visakhapatnam and former chief minister Nedurumalli Janardhana Reddy and Rajya Sabha member V Hanumantha Rao, are apparently disappointed since the party high command ignored their claims for ministerial berths for the second time.
With Sunday's expansion, the number of ministers from Andhra Pradesh has gone up to 10. Eight of them belong to the Congress and two to Telangana Rashtra Samithi, a constituent of the United Progressive Alliance. The list includes cabinet-rank minister S Jaipal Reddy (Congress) and ministers of state K Chandrasekhar Rao and A Narendra (from TRS) and Panabaka Lakshmi, Dasari Narayan Rao, Renuka Chowdhury, M M Pallam Raju, D Purandareshwari, T Subbirami Reddy and Jairam Ramesh (who is elected to Rajya Sabha from Andhra Pradesh).
Caste wise, they include two each from Reddi, Kamma and Kapu caste and one each from Dalit, Velama and Padmashali caste. Jairam Ramesh hails from Karnataka.