Hours after former Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary IYR Krishna Rao was sacked from his post as the Chairman of the Brahmin Welfare Corporation, Parakala Prabhakar, the state's Communications Advisor, addressed the media.
"All of us including the Chief Minister, have great respect for Krishna Rao. He has served this state for many years, holding several senior posts," Parakala told media persons in Hyderabad.
"It was the Chief Minister who offered him a post after he retired as CS, and he was the one who chose the corporations. The CM even made an exception for him and gave him a 3-year tenure. I'm emphasising on this, to show that all of us looked up to him," he added.
Krishna Rao was sacked after he shared some posts on Facebook, that were extremely critical of Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, the ruling TDP, and former CM NT Rama Rao.
Rao had alleged that he had been trying to meet Naidu for six months to discuss Brahmin welfare, but didn't get an appointment.
Responding to the allegation, Parakala said, "The CM is always ready to meet Rao. They had a friendly relationship. Even when he used to walk in, we all used to leave them alone and they would talk."
Parakala also pointed out that the duo met during the two-day Collector's Conference in May.
Addressing the reason behind Rao being sacked, Parakala "For everyone holding a post in a government, there is a certain responsibility and importance that comes with it. You have to behave a certain way and Rao is also well aware of it. For so many years, he did just that as CS."
He went on to add, "When a discussion on a certain topic comes up, there are bound to be people with different opinions who disagree on various things. However, once the state government or cabinet takes the decision, we have to follow it."
Saying that such things were "not expected from someone as senior as Krishna Rao," Parakala also said that the state had put him in-charge of a brand new corporation.
"We don't expect people to sing 'Bhajans' to the government. However, if you insult the State Assembly and a Dalit MLA, there will be repercussions," Parakala said.
He was referring to the arrest of political satirist Inturi Ravikiranby the Andhra police for 'offensive' posts against the TDP government in May.
In fact, Rao had said that it was Ravikiran's arrest that triggered his dissent against the state government.
"I was hurt by that move. I started thinking what kind of system we are living in. Are we fascist? I believe that it was wrong, so I just shared three or four posts in protest. Is that a criminal mistake? I shared those posts without comment, because I felt that we should not put criminal cases on satirists," Rao had said.
"Facism is an overstatement," Parakala responded.
"If there are any issues with a decision taken by the state, Rao knows that he can approach anyone and tell them what he truly feels, and even give advice. If there is merit in the criticism, the state will definitely accept it," he added.
Rao had shared an old cartoon that took a dig at NTR, another post that criticised the TDP, and a post in support of Ravikiran.
Parakala also emphasised that he had no problem with Rao's opinions on various issues.
"However, to say that the people of Andhra are not getting the truth, that is uncalled for," he added.
"We have always treated him with respect, still do, and will continue to do so. We have never hurt him in anyway," he concluded.