Andhra cabinet rejig triggers dissidence in TDP

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Amaravati, April 2 (IANS) The Andhra Pradesh cabinet reshuffle and expansion on Sunday triggered dissidence in a section of the legislators of ruling Telugu Desam Party.

Unhappy over being dropped from cabinet, senior leader B. Gopalakrishna Reddy resigned from the state assembly while another legislator Chintamaneni Prabhakar, who didn’t find place in the ministry expansion, announced his resignation.

Gopalakrishna Reddy sent his resignation letter to Speaker Kodela Sivaprasada Rao and Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.

He was one of the five ministers dropped by Naidu. Eleven new ministers including the Chief Minister’s son Nara Lokesh were inducted into the Cabinet.

The induction of three members of opposition YSR Congress Party who had switched loyalties to TDP, in the cabinet led to heartburn as the seniors and loyalists feel they were ignored to accommodate defectors.

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Naidu dropped Gopalakrishna Reddy, who was holding the Forest portfolio, to accommodate Amarnath Reddy, a member of YSR Congress, who had crossed over to the TDP.

Gopalakrishna Reddy is a friend of Naidu and had earlier served as a minister in his Cabinet in the undivided Andhra Pradesh. They both hail from Chittoor district.

Gopalakrishna Reddy was also injured with Naidu when Maoists targeted the Chief Minister with landmine blast in 2003 near Tirupati.

On learning about his resignation, Naidu spoke to Gopalakrishna Reddy over phone and tried to pursuade him to withdraw the same.

Miffed over not being inducted in the cabinet, Prabhakar announced he will resign as member of assembly.

Another MLA B. Bojji declared his support to Prabhakar.

Senior leader from Guntur, D. Narendra was also unhappy over being denied the cabinet berth.

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The MLA, who met Naidu on Saturday, had told the party chief he was expecting the ministerial position for his loyalty to the party. He reminded Naidu that he was loyal to the party even when it had to sit in the opposition.

A large number of Narendra’s supporters gathered at his house to show solidarity.

Bonda Uma, TDP MLA from Vijayawada, too announced his decision to quit over not being accommodated in the cabinet.

However, he backed down after Naidu called him for a meeting.

Uma said Naidu expressed his regret over not being able to accommodate all those who served the party into the cabinet.

TDP woman MLA Anita also expressed her unhappiness on not being inducted in the cabinet.

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