Sunday, January 22, 2012

[ZESTCaste] Andhra Pradesh Dalits to protest sacking of textile minister

A. Srinivasa Rao Hyderabad, January 22, 2012 | UPDATED 15:45 IST
Andhra Pradesh Dalits to protest sacking of textile minister

Dalit groups in Andhra Pradesh are up in arms against the ruling
Congress party over what they termed as "unceremonious sacking" of Dr
P. Shankar Rao from the Kiran Kumar Reddy cabinet.

Rao, who held the portfolio of handlooms and textiles, was removed
from the cabinet on Thursday, hours after the expansion of the
cabinet. A Dalit leader representing Secunderabad Cantonment
constituency, Rao had been a major embarrassment to the chief minister
with his open criticism on various policy decisions, besides his
frequent outbursts against his own cabinet colleagues. He was did not
attend the recent cabinet meetings.

His sacking, though not unexpected, created a furore among the Dalit
groups. Madiga Reservation Porata Samithi (MRPS), which represents a
major Dalit group, strongly condemned the sacking of Rao. "Removal or
induction of a minister might be the prerogative of the chief
minister, but the way a Dalit minister was sacked was shocking. It
clearly showed the Congress and the CM are anti-Dalits," MRPS chief
Manda Krishna Madiga said.

The MRPS called for state-wide agitation in protest against Rao's
removal. "There would be dharnas at mandal headquarters on Saturday,
followed by road blockades all over the state. We would boycott the
Republic Day ceremony on January 26 and observe it as a black day,"
Madiga said.

The Telugu Desam Party, too, has come out in support of Rao.

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