As the Congress high command keeps him at bay on the proposed merger of Prajarajyam Party with itself, Chiranjeevi is finding it difficult to install his close aides and followers in government-nominated posts in the face of opposition from some senior leaders in the ruling party.
His latest proposal to make one of his strong followers in Guntur as the head of the Guntur agriculture market committee (chilli yard) has reportedly been shot down by three cabinet ministers hailing from district. He had put forth the names of former legislator and district PRP convenor Lingasetty Eswara Rao and former bureaucrat T V Rao for the post of head of the chilli yard.
Sources said that Chiranjeevi had spoken to chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy last week and urged him to finalise the appointment at least before embarking on tour to the district on Wednesday. However, the CM reportedly asked him to come up with other names as the three cabinet ministers from the district were against the persons recommended by him.
“Chiranjeevi is under pressure to come up with some more names but that’s only an excuse as the district ministers would want their nominees to head the key post in the yard, which yields handsome revenues. The district PRP leaders started lobbying for the post ever since it fell vacant a few months ago after the term of Lella Appireddy ended,” said the sources. The market yard is one of the biggest in Asia with an annual turnover of Rs 150 crore.
Congress sources said Kanna Lakshminarayana is supporting the candidature of Vysya leader Paduchuri Venkateswarlu, who was the vice-chairman of the chilli yard earlier. While Eswara Rao has serious differences with the minister, T V Rao is at the centre of controversies for various reasons, including alleged misuse of central funds granted to his NGO, they added.
Meanwhile, rural development minister Dokka Manikya Varaprasad is seeking the post for a Dalit leader, and excise and prohibition minister Mopidevi Venkata Ramana is believed to have suggested former district Youth Congress president Vanukuri Srinivasa Reddy’s name.
While cooperation minister Kasu Krishna Reddy, former minister Gade Venkata Reddy and some legislators are supporting Srinivasa Reddy, district Congress leaders are resisting all moves to appoint a PRP leader as head of the market committee.
“When we have several committed workers in the party, how could our government name outsiders (read PRP leaders) as the head of the prestigious market committee,” said a minister on the condition of anonymity. Another minister felt that the Prajarajyam Party leaders could wait for some more time and work for the Congress before seeking any ‘goodies’ from the government. TOI