Ponnala goes to Delhi on high command call

The irrigation minister, Mr Ponnala Lakshmaiah, has been summoned to New Delhi by the Congress high command.

The call came after the Cabinet meeting that was held in Hyderabad on Thursday. Despite the fact the Mr Lakshmaiah had to attend a meeting which was arranged by the BC leaders at Ravindra Bharathi, he rushed to New Delhi as soon as he was called and skipped the meeting.

Earlier, the Chief Minister, Mr K. Rosaiah, sprang a surprise in the Cabinet by advising his colleagues to defend Mr Laxmaiah against opposition parties and a few senior leaders of the Congress party who are making serious allegations of corruption against the minister.

Outraged that the Opposition was targeting a BC minister, the health minister, Mr Nagendar, suspected a deep conspiracy behind this. He felt that since the minister belonged to a BC community, there is a “malicious” campaign to defame him.

Mr Nagendar’s remarks created tense moments in the Cabinet and the IT minister, Mr Komatireddi Venkata Reddy, took objection to the caste-based allegations and advised Mr Nagendar to restrain himself. Mr Venkata Reddy said that there was no caste issue involved in the allegations levelled by the Opposition.

At this juncture, the Chief Minister reminded his colleagues of the joint responsibility of the Cabinet and defended Mr Lakshmaiah.

The rural development minister, Mr V. Vasanth Kumar and the endowments minister, Mr G. Venkata Reddy, observed that the open defiance of some senior leaders should be brought to the notice of the party high command as it is damaging the image of the party.

They took objection to the seniors’ comments against the Polavaram dam and made it clear that any change of design would adversely affect the party in that region. The minister, Mr Vasath Kumar, made it clear that the Polavaram dam is a personal issue with the people in the coastal region and any “irresponsible” remarks would damage the party’s image.

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