Hyderabad, Sept. 12: Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has taken potshots at the Centre’s economic reforms, saying the “NDA went one step forward and two steps back”.
Commenting on the rift between Central ministers on the disinvestment in the oil sector, Naidu said the reforms implementation programme at the Centre lacked coordination.
He said there was need for more cohesion and coordination between Central ministries a nd he would speak to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as “the entire exercise would be useless if there is delay and (it is) misdirected”.
The chief minister gave a clean chit to all six ministers allegedly involved in the food-for-work scheme scam. “They are only allegations by the Opposition and the media. Even then, I have ordered an inquiry as it involves 5.5 lakh works under the programme utilising 31.5 lakh tonnes of rice. I have sought vigilance reports on all the allegations,” he said.
Naidu also shuffled his Cabinet yesterday, inducting three legislators from Telengana. From Nizamabad district, C. Muthyam Reddy was chosen as a substitute for P. Srinivas Reddy, who had resigned on charges of nepotism and corruption during his tenure in the panchayati raj department.
Although the Telugu Desam Party had cashed in on glamour to win votes, it had not elevated any film personality to a ministerial position so far. Today, Naidu inducted P. Babumohan, movie comedian and legislator from Andole in Medak, as the labour minister.
The controversial panchayati raj portfolio went to N. Janardhan Reddy, former health minister from Mahboobnagar, and the health ministry to K. Shivprasad Rao, who was inducted into the Cabinet few months ago despite criminal cases pending against him.
The other two ministers — K. Subbarayudu (power) and K.E. Prabhakar (minor irrigation) — who were also named in the rice scam have been left untouched.
On the corruption charges against his Cabinet colleagues, Naidu said none of the ministers was directly involved and the allegations were politically motivated. “Let the vigilance report be submitted and I will initiate action against all of them without fail,” he said.
The Desam chief also expressed displeasure at the manner in which the Centre had dealt with the former managing director of Visakhapatnam Steel plant, B.N. Singh, who had resigned and joined a private steel group. “Singh had brought a major turnaround in the plant. It is unfortunate that he has been left high and dry,” Naidu said.