Andhra Pradesh ministers, incensed with Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, are now seeking to prop up Union Minister of State for Tourism K Chiranjeevi as the Congress' chief ministerial candidate in the 2014 elections, sources said.
Chiranjeevi's close confidant and Endowments Minister C Ramachandraiah has already started the "Chiru-for-CM" campaign and many ministers have privately endorsed it.
The dinner meeting of some ministers, including PCC president Botsa Satyanarayana, with Chiranjeevi on Monday assumed significance with talk that they are seeking to prop him up as the chief ministerial candidate in 2014 elections on the "Kapu" (caste) card, sources said.
Chiranjeevi himself was unhappy with some of the decisions taken by the chief minister and had even publicly protested on issues like the steep hike in power tariff. The development comes at a time when the Congress high command has received complaints against the chief minister from various quarters on a host of issues.
"The haste at which new schemes are being announced is creating a rather avoidable confusion among the party cadre. It will damage the party interests instead of deriving any political benefit as we are unable to take the schemes to the people effectively," one of the senior state ministers said.
In fact, the ministers who attended the meeting lamented that they themselves had no knowledge about the new schemes being announced day in and day out.
They are also angry that even vital policy decisions are not being brought before the Cabinet for discussion. A report signed by some ministers and members of Legislative Assembly was already sent to the Congress leadership in New Delhi listing out the complaints against the chief minister.
After his Cabinet colleagues, the Congress members of Parliament from the state have now taken their turn to petition the party high command against the "unilateral style of functioning" of the chief minister.
During their meeting with All India Congress Committee general secretary, in-charge of AP affairs Ghulam Nabi Azad yesterday in New Delhi, Congress MPs not only from Telangana region but also Andhra-Rayalaseema poured out their complaints against the chief minister over a range of issues.
The CM's controversial stand on the allotment of iron ore in Warangal and Khammam districts to Visakhapatnam Steel Plant has also damaged the party's prospects in Telangana, the MPs added.
The MPs complained that Kiran Reddy's actions were harming the party in Telangana region.
Rajya Sabha member V Hanumantha Rao led the Telangana MPs' attack on the CM while his fellow MP J D Seelam from Andhra joined some colleagues from the region in hitting out at him.
The MPs, who are scheduled to have a special meet with AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi tomorrow, are expected to take the issue to him as well.
Though Kiran Reddy was initially summoned by the high command to New Delhi on Monday, the trip was postponed in view of the Karnataka elections and party sources indicated that he may be called again in the next few days.