AP bifurcation issue: 8 ministers skip Cabinet meet

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Hyderabad: A meeting of the Andhra Pradesh council of ministers which was held here on Friday after a gap of two months, ended without any fireworks, contrary to expectations.
Despite going public with their displeasure against Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy for taking a pro-‘united’ Andhra Pradesh stance despite the Congress Central Working Committee decision to bifurcate the state, ministers from the Telangana region, including Deputy Chief Minister Damodara Rajanarasimha, did not raise any hue and cry at the cabinet meet, sources said.
Only Panchayat Raj Minister K Jana Reddy raised the issue of the ongoing agitation by the Andhra Pradesh Non-Gazetted Officers' Association (APNGOA), requesting the AP chief minister to take steps to end it. "The cabinet sub-committee is holding talks with striking employees. We hope the strike ends soon," the chief minister reportedly said.
When questioned about this, Information and Public Relations Minister D K Aruna told reporters at the cabinet briefing that the cabinet sub-committee would hold talks with the striking APNGOA to resolve the issue.
However, as many as eight ministers – six from coastal Andhra-Rayalaseema region and two from the Telangana region – skipped the cabinet meeting. Ministers from the coastal Andhra-Rayalaseema region like Ganta Srinivasa Rao, C Ramachandraiah, Galla Aruna Kumari, Erasu Pratap Reddy, Md Ahmedullah and T G Venkatesh, who had tendered their resignations from the cabinet in protest against the state's division, stayed away from the meeting chaired by AP Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy.
Ministers J Geeta Reddy and Danam Nagender from Telangana also abstained, though for other reasons. Geeta was named as an accused in the Jaganmohan Reddy illegal assets case and chargesheeted by the CBI three days ago, which is said to be the reason she did not attend the cabinet meet.
Danam is on a foreign trip and hence did not attend, sources said. Interestingly, Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Rajanarasimha attended the cabinet meet though he had not been on good terms with the Chief Minister ever since the Congress' Central Working Committee resolved to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh on July 30.
It is significant that almost all ministers from the Telangana region attended the cabinet meeting though the majority of them had been openly critical of the Chief Minister's stance on the bifurcation issue.
They had been demanding that AP Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy abide by the Congress high command's decision and not act like the "CM of Seemaandhra region".
The cabinet cleared a proposal to fill up 5000 posts in different departments, including 2800 teachers in tribal residential schools, the Information Minister said.
"The cabinet thanked the Government of India for clearing the Information Technology Investment Region proposal today," Aruna said.

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