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Andhra chief minister completes two years in office

Predicts leading the Congress to another victory in 2014

Gulf News

Hyderabad: With the ground underneath his feet crumbling inch by inch and threats tightening their grip, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy today celebrated the second anniversary of his coming to office.

While marking the day by launching the construction work of the Hyderabad Metro Rail project at Uppal, he declared that not only was he going to complete the term but would also lead the Congress party to another victory in the 2014 polls. “We will return to power on the basis of our performance and our welfare schemes,” he said.

Kiran Kumar Reddy was handpicked by the party high command in 2010 to replace the ageing leader K. Rosaiah to lead the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh but his last two years have seen the government further losing its grip over the situation as he continues to face one crisis after the other, the internecine group rivalries of the party being on top.

However, on the second anniversary he put up a brave front saying, “Mark my words, we are going to come back in 2014”. Speaking after the Hyderabad Metro Rail project function, Kiran Kumar Reddy also exuded confidence in tackling the YSR Congress party of Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, which is being seen as the biggest threat to Congress in the next elections. “There is no reason to be worried about YSR Congress,” he said. “Jaganmohan Reddy has gone to jail over the issue of investments in his company, not fighting for the people,” he said dismissing the threat as of no consequence.

“We have completed two years in power with the support of the people and we will complete the term with their cooperation,” he said, adding that the government will not keep quiet if somebody tries to disrupt the peace.

Many in the Congress party however found his exuberance and confidence somewhat misplaced. His detractors pointed out that while the chief minister was patting himself on the back over completion of two years in his chair, a serious political threat to his rule as well as the Congress party was looming large.

They said that while the numerical strength of his government in the state assembly was doubtful, as other parties were trying to wean away more Congress MLAs and MPs in the state, the leaders of the main opposition parties were way ahead in their efforts to reach out to the people while Congress leaders were caught in a power struggle.

The second anniversary has come at a time when the Congress in the state has lost an ally — Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen — and Telugu Desam and YSR Congress leaders were on state-wide padyatras (treks) to woo the voters.

However, Kiran Kumar Reddy brushed aside the threat from MIM’s withdrawal of support. “MIM is a small party confined to the old city. They have withdrawn the support not because of Charminar temple controversy but because they have their own political agenda,” he said.

Reddy also rejected MIM’s allegation that he was communal. He was also not perturbed over the desertion from Congress to YSR Congress and the TRS. He drew comfort from his statistics that in every elections to the state assembly 150 new faces will be elected. He said those going away from the party will make way for the new blood.

His second anniversary in power was also marked by signing of five files of different welfare schemes. Under Indiramma Amrutha Hastam the government will spend Rs1 billion (Dh66.29 million) on a nutritious diet for 200,000 pregnant women and 100,000mothers. Another Rs 1.2 billion will be spent on special education for 9th and 10th standard students of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.

He also signed another order setting up a Commissionerate for Minorities which will have a staff of 69. Andhra Pradesh will be the first state to have a minority commissionerate after the minority welfare ministry. Kiran Kumar Reddy also decided to increase the work under the Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme by 50 days.