Amaravati: The resignation of K.R. Murthy from his position as an advisor to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy on public policy issues has stirred the hornet’s nest. The sudden exit of Murthy, a senior journalist with stints as the editor in Udayam and The Hans India and Director of Editorial Board of Sakshi daily, owned by Jaganmohan Reddy, raises questions over the kind of functional autonomy enjoyed by over 30 advisors in the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO).
Murthy, who was elevated to the CMO from Sakshi 11 months ago, reportedly put in his papers to Ajeya Kallam, Principal Advisor to the CM on Tuesday. He chose not to make public the reasons for his quitting but his resignation provided ammunition to the opposition. CPI state secretary K Ramakrishna said the Murthy’s exit indicates the fact that almost all the advisors in the CMO are just figureheads. As Jaganmohan Reddy earned a name as an autocrat by not paying heed to any advice the so-called advisers have lost their relevance in the YSR Congress government.
The Jagan government came in sharp criticism for appointing a host of advisors burning a hole in the exchequer’s pocket.
Murthy, Devulapalli Amar, GVD Krishamohan and Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy from the media were appointed as advisors to the CM. Amar is assigned to give advise to the CM on dealing with the national media. Amar and Murthy drew the flak from fellow journalists when they failed to raise their voice against the GO No. 938 issued by the Jagan government to gag the media. Amar was president of the Indian Union of Journalists (IUJ) at the time.
Regardless of adverse reactions both Murthy and Amar strongly defended the Jagan Reddy government’s attempts to rein in the media over the strength of the particular GO. Strikingly, Murthy was one of the participants in a rally taken out in Hyderabad long back by editors against a similar GO brought by the government of united Andhra Pradesh headed by Jagan’s father Rajasekhar Reddy to clip the wings of the media.
Murthy has been assigned to advise the CM on matters relating to health, education and welfare. But he allegedly never got a chance to meet the CM at least once since his appointment, leave alone his advising the CM. An analyst G. Anjaneyulu said Murthy was never seen at review meetings held by the CM Jagan Reddy on education, health and welfare. Similarly, Amar, expected to advise the CM on inter-state issues pertaining to Telangana, was also not seen when the AP CM met with his Telangana counterpart K Chandrasekhar Rao in Hyderabad earlier. Such instances give strength to the criticism that the advisors in the Jaganmohan Reddy government have been reduced to figureheads, Anjaneyulu commented.
When the Chief Minister is apparently depending on SRK as Ramakrishna Reddy came to be known for advises pertained to government and party as well the relevance of the other advisors comes under question.
Like Murthy, Ajeya Kallam allegedly got eclipsed in the CMO with the rise of Pravin Prakash as an all-powerful Principal Secretary of the CMO with the additional charge of the General Administration Department (Political). In the recent rejig of assignments in the CMO, Kallam ended up as an advisor without any subject under his control. It is alleged that even among the ministers and the ruling party MLAs are facing existential issues as in the case of Murthy for want of team spirit in the Jagan Reddy’s government.