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Spat over portfolio

HYDERABAD, JULY 26. The Backward Classes Welfare Minister, V. Laxmikantha Rao, and the Telugu Desam legislature party deputy leader, T. Devender Goud, locked horns over the allocation of the portfolio to the former in the Assembly on Monday. Both exchanged angry remarks with Mr. Goud calling Mr. Rao a `gadila dora' (feudal lord) and the latter hitting back at him as an `AC-BC' (air-conditioned backward class).

Sparks flew from Mr. Goud in the House after Mr. Rao read out from a prepared text his reply to the debate on the demands concerning his department. Mr. Goud found fault with Mr. Rao reading from the text and criticised the allocation of the portfolio to him. He said the Minister did not know how many castes were there in the BC category. The Government had done a disservice to BCs by giving him the portfolio. It had driven them back to the `banchan dora' age by the act. "They are now to leave their footwear at the threshold of the gadi (fortress kind of residence of feudal lords) to enter," he remarked.

Later, Mr. Rao condemned Mr. Goud's comments and said he was a proud farmer and an ex-serviceman. He served as a sarpanch and participated in the war against Pakistan when he served the army. He was fit to be adored as the jai jawan - jai kisan, the slogan of late Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri. Mr. Goud defended his criticism of Mr. Rao saying he questioned the sincerity of the Government in giving him the portfolio. He handled a subject which dealt with a social issue. He did not have an understanding of the sufferings of BCs as he belonged to a forward caste.

The Finance Minister, K. Rosaiah, put an end to the slinging match saying allocation of subjects to Ministers was the prerogative of the Chief Minister.

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