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October 28, 1999
Ex-minister's resignation threat rattles Naidu
Shireen in Hyderabad
Piqued over his own non-inclusion and the re-induction of his arch-rival in the state cabinet, former minister Kalidindi Ramachandra Raju on Wednesday threatened to quit the assembly and the Telugu Desam Party.
Reports from West Godavari district indicate that the former minister had sent in his resignation letter to this effect to chief minister and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu, through an emissary.
However, Naidu asserted at the TDP office in the city on Wednesday night that he had not received any such letter. "Who told you so? Have you seen his resignation letter,'' the chief minister responded to inquisitive newsmen. "I have not received any such letters," he maintained.
Party sources said that Ramachandra Raju, who served as energy minister in the previous cabinet, was cut up with the party leadership for ignoring his claims this time. He was also sore over the re-induction of his bete noire Kotagiri Vidyadhar Rao in the cabinet during the expansion effected on October 22. On the whole, three ministers, all of cabinet rank, were inducted from West Godavari district during the expansion.
Besides Vidyadhar Rao, the chief minister had inducted Kothapalli Subbarayudu and Dandu Sivarama Raju. Yet, Ramachandra Raju was cold-shouldered. This caused heartburn among his supporters and they mounted pressure on the former energy minister to quit the assembly and the party.
In his letter addressed to the party chief, Ramachandra Raju, who had a 11-month stint as a minister in the Naidu cabinet, protested over the re-induction of Vidyadhar Rao. His grouse was that Vidyadhar Rao, along with the legislator from Bhimavaram, P Venkata Narasimha Raju and the party candidate from Tadepalligudem Yarra Narayanaswamy had made attempts to ensure his (Ramachandra Raju's) defeat in the Undi assembly constituency. The trio had actively supported the Congress candidate Gokaraju Ramaraju and Anna-TDP nominee Mutyala Venkateswara Rao in the constituency.
In the triangular contest, however, Ramachandra Raju retained his seat. Joining the Telugu Desam Party at its inception, he was elected five times in successive elections to the assembly from Undi. He also had a stint as chairman of the Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams Trust Board before his brief tenure as a minister.
Party sources said that Chandrababu Naidu, who was rattled by the unexpected threat from Ramachandra Raju to quit the assembly and the party, was seeking to pacify the former minister through various channels. The chief minister tried in vain to contact Ramachandra Raju. Even Vidyadhar Rao made attempts to speak to Raju over the phone. Several other legislators from the district were said to be sore over the "raw deal" meted out to Ramchandra Raju.
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