Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy could to be on his way out with the Congress high command said to be extremely upset with his inept handling of the administration and for alienating not only party colleagues but also a dependable ally like All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM). Sources said the party leadership is looking for Reddy’s replacement.
The AIMIM had pulled out of the UPA at the Centre and the state government early this week accusing the latter of pursuing “communal policies”. The AIMIM was learnt to have conveyed to the Congress leadership in New Delhi that it would reconsider its decision only after Reddy is removed. The immediate provocation for the AIMIM’s pullout was said to be the construction of a canopy at a temple abutting historic Charminar in Hyderabad, although Congress sources believed the AIMIM was considering the option of allying with Jaganmohan Reddy’s YSR Congress given the plummeting support base of the Congress in the state. While the withdrawal of support of 7 MLAs from the Congress government in the state and 1 MP from the UPA is not of much consequence in terms of stability of the respective governments, the Congress is concerned about the “larger message” of the AIMIM’s pullout not just in Andhra Pradesh but also outside the state.
While AIMIM’s pullout could be the proverbial last nail on the coffin for the CM in terms of his continuance in chair, sources said that the Congress leadership was already seized with the issue of change of guard in Andhra Pradesh to shore up the party’s support base through pro-active governance. Appointed Chief Minister in November 2010 following the resignation of K Rosaiah, Reddy was expected to provide good governance to “neutralise” the growing clout of Jagan Reddy, who was seeking to claim the political legacy of his late father YS Rajasekhar Reddy, and douse the fires in Telangana over the demand for statehood.
The result, said sources, has been “just the opposite”, even as Congress President Sonia Gandhi has been receiving complaints from the CM’s Cabinet colleagues about his ‘one-upmanship and lack of interest in governance” as was evident from the long gaps, sometimes of two to three months, between Cabinet meetings. The CM also developed differences with Deputy CM Damodar Rajanarasimha, who hails from Telangana region.
With Andhra Pradesh sending 33 Congress MPs to the Lok Sabha in 2009, the party leadership is anxious to get its house in order in the state ahead of the next parliamentary and assembly elections in 2014. Sources, however, said that more than the removal of Kiran Reddy, finding his replacement is a bigger challenge given the dearth of leaders who have the potential to reclaim YSR’s legacy for the Congress. Indian Express