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So who runs the AP government right now?

Source: PTI
February 23, 2014 16:50 IST
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With Andhra Pradesh on the verge of a division, the "government" in the state exists only on paper after a notification issued by the Governor and is non-existent for practical purposes.

Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy resigned from his post on February 19, protesting bifurcation of the state.

Immediately, Governor ESL Narasimhan sent a report to the Centre on Reddy's resignation and reportedly recommended imposition of President's rule in the state.

The Governor waited for two days for any communication in response to his plea from the Centre but with nothing forthcoming, he formally issued a notification on February 21 accepting the resignation of the Council of Ministers.

In a separate notification, the Governor asked "Kiran Kumar Reddy and his colleagues in the Council of Ministers to continue in office till alternative arrangements are made", which has made the situation tricky.

Kiran Reddy not only resigned from the Chief Minister's post but also from the Congress party. Four or five of his Cabinet colleagues too announced they were leaving the ruling party while about 30 others, cutting across the regional divide, continue to remain in the Congress.

Now, the Chief Minister is unwilling to function even as the so-called "caretaker".

He has relieved all his official staffers, including IAS officers, from the Chief Minister's Office and also vacated the official bungalow.

"He is not even taking daily briefings from us," a top bureaucrat pointed out.

But, many of the "ministers", particularly those from Seemaandhra, are said to be upset over the current situation.

Though they "technically" remain ministers, officials are unwilling to take orders from them anymore.

Sources said a day after the Chief Minister resigned, a key minister sought to push a 100-acre land deal in favour of a private major engineering company, but the Principal Secretary concerned refused to oblige.

Another minister wanted alterations in the city master plan in his native district, to enable certain land transactions, but the District Collector negated the proposal.

The minister then knocked on the doors of higher authorities concerned in state Secretariat, but to no avail.

Interestingly, ministers from Telangana are busy celebrating the birth of a new state.

When contacted, a minister from Telangana, camping in New Delhi, remarked over phone, "It hardly matters for us now whether we are ministers are not."

The list of those aspiring for the CM's post from Telangana is quite long but all of them have left the decision on the fate of the government to the Congress high command.

Though initially there were reports from New Delhi that the Centre was mulling President's rule in AP since elections to the Assembly were just a couple of months away, it reportedly kept the plans on hold to assess the political developments first before taking a call.

Some state "ministers" began lobbying with the Congress high command for the Chief Minister's post promising to hold the party flock together, in the face of the current adversity wherein a mass exodus of legislators looks imminent.

Pradesh Congress Committee president and Transport Minister Botsa Satyanarayana and Agriculture Minister Kanna Lakshminarayana are the top contenders for the CM's job while other ministers like Anam Ramanarayana Reddy and N Raghuveera Reddy from Seemaandhra are among the "aspirants".

Kanna reportedly met party chief Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on Saturday and pleaded his case for the Chief Minister's post, though he has denied it.

Already, a dozen MLAs from the region have quit the Congress. While some of them joined the Telugu Desam Party, some others are waiting for the possible launch of a new party by Kiran Reddy.

If Reddy launches a new party, at least half a dozen ministers and many legislators are expected to jump over from Congress. Some more are ready to return to their parent TDP.

"Those who can't get an entry either in TDP or YSR Congress will have no option but to stay back in the Congress," one senior MLA pointed out. 

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