The Congress high command may not have taken cognisance of their demand for replacement of N Kiran Kumar Reddy as chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, but the "rebel" members of his cabinet are not ready to let him breathe easy.
An embattled Reddy got the taste of his colleagues' ire at the cabinet meeting in Hyderabad late Friday evening when a group of his detractors virtually took him to task over the handling of the unprecedented power crisis gripping the state.
Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee president and Transport Minister Botsa Satyanarayana was said to have led the charge supported by D L Ravindra Reddy, P Viswaroop, C Ramachandraiah and a few others.
There was also a "sand storm" in the cabinet as ministers like Vatti Vasanta Kumar and Kanna Lakshminarayana raised the issue and lashed out at their own government over the "policy lapses", a senior minister said.
As the chief minister watched, one or two ministers, including Kondru Murali, tried to defend him but their voice remained feeble against the vociferous rebellion, the minister said.
The timing of the rebel ministers' trenchant attack could not be lost as it happened on a day when the Congress high command in New Delhi was categorical in ruling out the possibility of dislodging Reddy from the CM's chair.
"Power (electricity) has the potential to make us (political) powerless," the ministers reportedly warned the chief minister.
The ministers were also furious over the "lapses" in the government's policy on sand mining.
The sand mafia is said to be ruling the roost in the districts while the common people as well as the government are paying a heavy price. The government gets revenue of only Rs 120 crore from sand mining but it will have to spend an additional Rs 10,000 crore to buy sand from the black market for ongoing projects, the ministers apprehended.
At this, the chief minister agreed to constitute a cabinet sub-committee to devise suitable sand mining policy immediately, the minister said.
The AP cabinet met Friday evening after a gap of over three months but it ended in a big storm on a host of issues as the rebels within could not conceal their disgruntlement.