Is PCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana trying to utilise every opportunity to corner chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy? Is the rift between the two widening with each passing day? It appears so given the PCC chief's public display of "displeasure" over the ongoing power crisis in the State and his comments attributing shortage of natural gas supplies to power plants to the lackadaisical attitude of the present and past governments.
Botcha's public apology to the people on the "power crisis" has in fact created a furore among Congress leaders. Several leaders, particularly those close to the chief minister, are wondering what his real motives could be.
"By apologising to the people, the PCC chief appeared to have tried to expose the state government's failure in averting the power crisis. How could Botcha blame his own government? It seems the PCC chief is putting in all efforts to embarrass the chief minister on every issue," opined a former minister from coastal Andhra.
Besides, Botcha's recent remarks that he would be happy if Chiranjeevi was made the chief minister also left Kiran Reddy's camp red-faced. Some leaders believe that with these utterances, the PCC chief has endorsed the predictions of ministers like C Ramachandraiah and Ganta Srinivasa Rao, close aides of Chiranjeevi, that the actor-turned politician would soon become the chief minister of the state.
"By seconding Chiranjeevi, Botcha has backed the claim of Kiran Reddy's detractors in the Congress that the latter should be removed from the chief minister's post," felt a senior MLA from Rayalaseema.
The differences between the PCC chief and the chief minister also came to the fore when Botcha was conspicuous by his absence at the Youth Congress state committee oath-taking ceremony held at the Gandhi Bhavan recently and for which several ministers, including the chief minister, had attended.
Some leaders in the Congress say Botcha went to Delhi during this programme only to keep himself away from the Youth Congress swearing-in ceremony as he was against the appointment of Challa Vamsichand Reddy, accused of having a hand in the attacks on Reliance malls over the death of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy. Botcha's camp believes Vamsichand has Kiran Reddy's support.
The PCC chief also tried to put Kiran Reddy in a tight spot recently by demanding total prohibition in the state at a time when the government is striving hard to maximise financial resources for the various welfare programmes. It is an open secret that Botcha's unhappiness about his name being dragged into the liquor syndicate controversy prompted him to demand total prohibition. In fact, the PCC chief has been disagreeing with the decisions taken by Kiran Reddy, right from the appointment of the latter as the chief minister of the state. For instance, Botcha has often disagreed with Kiran Reddy on many schemes like Rajiv Yuva Kiranalu.