Amid a raging controversy over the drought issue, the Andhra Pradesh Cabinet met at Amaravati on Tuesday and discussed the situation in the State. The meeting discussed the aftermath of Cyclone Fani and relief measures in affected areas, the drinking water problem in rural areas and towns, and the steps to address the issue and also certain issues related to agriculture.

The four-point agenda was cleared by the Election Commission and the permission to hold the Cabinet meet was given late Monday evening.

As the clearance did not come till late Monday evening, there was speculation that the Chief Minister might conduct the review with officials only.

Briefing the media after the Cabinet meet, State Agriculture Minister S Chandramohana Reddy said the four issues on the agenda were discussed and instructions were given to officials to address the issues such as providing drinking water to the villages in summer, the relief works after Cyclone Fani, especially in Srikakulam district, and plans for the coming kharif season.

‘No issue with officials’

In response to a question from the media whether the officials were cooperative, especially Chief Secretary LV Subrahmanyam, the Minister clarified that “there are no issues with the Chief Secretary.

“Our fight is against the manner in which the Modi government is exerting pressure on the Election Commission of India to erode the independence of a democratically elected government. In the guise of adherence to the model code of conduct, it is not correct to stifle a democratically elected government.”

He went on to add that “the officials have always cooperated with the Telugu Desam government in the State for the past five years and that is why we could achieve growth rates of well over 10 per cent consistently during the period.” He also clarified that no policy decisions were taken at the Cabinet meet.

Earlier this month, Chief Secretary LV Subrahmanyam made it clear to the State government that the Cabinet could only meet with the permission of the Election Commission, as the model code was in force in the State and the agenda would have to be approved by the ECI.

Consequently, the State Cabinet meet, which was originally scheduled for May 10, was postponed to Tuesday. The Chief Minister’s office submitted a note on the agenda, which was approved by the ECI late Monday evening.