Congress shocked, opposition hails Andhra minister’s arrest

Hyderabad, May 24: The arrest of Andhra Pradesh Excise Minister Mopidevi Venkatramna has shocked the ruling Congress party in the state while the opposition parties have welcomed it.

YSR Congress Party has described the minister’s arrest a part of the conspiracy to arrest its leader Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, who would be appearing before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Friday in the illegal assets case.

The arrest has sent panic in the ruling party with the CBI now focusing on the role played by five other ministers in issuing controversial orders during the earlier regime of Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy.

The minister has been arrested at a time when the parties are busy campaigning for June 12 by-elections to one Lok Sabha and 18 assembly seats.

Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy is holding an emergency meeting with his cabinet colleagues here Thursday night to take stock of the situation created by the minister’s arrest.

Some ministers while reacting to the arrest lamented that the innocent were being made to pay for the benefits enjoyed by others. Secondary Education Minister Parthasaradhi said the arrest of a minister belonging to backward class is unfortunate.

State Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana said he came to know about the arrest through media. He said he would react after going into all aspects of the case.

Leader of Opposition and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N. Chandrababu Naidu said those who committed mistakes would have to pay for it. “It is regrettable that so many people are going to jail for the selfishness of one person,” he said without naming Jagan.

Senior TDP leader Y. Ramakrishnudu said a minister belonging to backward class was made a scapegoat. He wondered why the CBI had not arrested other ministers.

The leaders of Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India-Marxist welcomed the arrest and demanded action against all those involved in irregularities.

YSR Congress Party said the arrest ahead of its leader Jagan’s appearance before the CBI was a mere show to impress that the investigation agency is impartial.

Party spokesman Bajireddy Goverdhan said Jagan’s apprehension were coming true but advised the party cadre to maintain peace.

“Why should a minister who is from the backward classes be arrested while others were not even been questioned,” asked Vasireddy Padma, another leader of YSR Congress.

IANS