Date:02/05/2007 URL:

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No thanks, say two Congress MLAs

Special Correspondent

They reject YSR's offer of heading regional boards

Gade Venkat Reddy

HYDERABAD: Two senior Congress MLAs, P. Sambasiva Raju and Gade Venkat Reddy, have turned down Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy's offer to them to head regional development boards and termed it "an insult to their seniority."

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, they said they could not question Dr. Reddy's prerogative in choosing his ministerial team but it was not justifiable on his part to make such an offer to us without regard to their seniority and experience. "He has shocked us with the offer," they said.

"We have nothing against Dr. Reddy and understand his limitations. But we too have a right to refuse the posts," they said. They did not believe in the suggestion that the high command had anything to do with the offer.

Strong aspirants

Mr. Venkata Reddy and Mr. Sambasiva Raju, who were strong aspirants for Cabinet berths, earlier met the Chief Minister and conveyed their displeasure over their appointment as Chairpersons of the Development Boards of the Andhra and the North Coastal Andhra regions. They said they had enjoyed higher positions in the past as Ministers and could not accept such insignificant posts now. Another senior Congress MLA, V. Purushottam Reddy, however, told reporters after meeting Dr. Reddy that he was accepting the post of Chairman of the Telangana Regional Development Board. Mr. G. Muddukrishnama Naidu, MLA from Puttur, has been inaccessible ever since he was named as head of the Rayalaseema Development Board.

P. Sambasiva Raju

Mr. Venkata Reddy said he could not accept the post of a regional board since he was an integrationist. Moreover, there were occasions when he had fought for higher allocations for the Telangana region. Mr. Sambasiva Raju gave a different reason. He said he had been elected as MLA for eight terms and the hopes of his followers about his inclusion in the Cabinet soared when AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh indicated that seniority would be respected during the Cabinet expansion.

Both leaders took pains to say that their decision should not be interpreted as dissidence and that Dr. Reddy was their leader.

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