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Setback to AP Chief Minister in PCC president appointment
Narendra Ch | 26 Mar 2008

The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy, who was jubilant after getting elected his close associate KVP Ramachandra Rao to the Rajya Sabha after futile attempts three times, has received a rude shock from the party high command with the app

The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy, who was jubilant after getting elected his close associate KVP Ramachandra Rao to the Rajya Sabha after futile attempts three times, has received a rude shock from the party high command with the appointment of  Minister for Higher Education  D Srinivas  as Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee president.

Srinivas’s appointment has come as a surprise to the party men. Rajasekhara Reddy’s attempt to get this appointment to one of his close confident like Minister for Major Irrigation Ponnala Lakshmaiah or state government’s representative at Delhi Mallu Ravi did not succeeded. Even the former PCC chief and Rajya Sabha member V Hanumantha Rao’s efforts failed. Rao blamed that he was not chosen due to opposition from the chief minister.

Srinivas appointment is expected to fulfil the party’s search for a strong leader, preferably a BC from Telangana to lead the party in the crucial forthcoming by-elections and also gear up the party to face the next elections in 2009. By appointing him, the party appears to have reposed faith in him as a perfect foil for Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS).

He was PCC president in 2004 elections and instrumental in striking a deal with TRS. He is now being asked to take on TRS, which is now going the whole hog in accusing the Congress of deceiving the people on Telangana statehood.

Union Minister for Urban Development S Jaipal Reddy seems played crucial role in convincing the party high command on the need to select a stronger leader from the Telangana region as PCC chief so that to given message to the party cadre that all the sections in the party will be taken care.

However, Rajasekhara Reddy’s camp fearing that appointment of Srinivas during election year may create trouble to them. It may be recalled that after 2004 elections Srinivas also claimed Chief Ministership. But Rajasekhara Reddy succeeded in getting the coveted post by mobilizing support from the MLAs.

In Rajasekhara Reddy’s cabinet, Srinivas was inducted only due to directions from party Chief Sonia Gandhi, but not given prominent ministry. But Srinivas maintaining low profile since then and continuing his relationship with the party high command by providing inputs on the functioning of Rajasekhara Reddy’s government.

Chief Minister said to be not aware of party high command’s preference towards Srinivas till he met Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday evening. It seems he was also not aware that his cabinet colleague Srinivas also reached Delhi receiving a call from the party high command.

But, he claimed that Srinivas appointment would provide an `winning combination’ for him to repeat 2004 performance.

 There is also a view that he was chosen to balance the power centers, now perceived to be heavily in favour of Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy. Meanwhile, the in-charge PCC president G.S. Rao hailed the appointment of Srinivas stating that he was an experienced leader, who had guided the party to victory in the last Assembly elections.

 Energy Minister Md. Ali Shabbir said  Srinivas’s experience in the organisational work would come in handy. In Hyderabad, jubilant Congress party workers burst crackers at Gandhi Bhavan as the news of  Srinivas’s appointment was made. In the presence of G.S. Rao and general secretary G. Niranjan, party workers distributed sweets.(EOM)