A day after chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy launched a broadside against Union petroleum minister S Jaipal Reddy, four Congress leaders from Telangana -- Rajya Sabha members V Hanumantha Rao and Palvai Govardhan Reddy, Lok Sabha member Ponnam Prabhakar and MLC K Yadav Reddy -- came down heavily on the chief minister on two different issues.
Hanumantha Rao did not approve of the chief minister's public display of displeasure against Jaipal Reddy over allocation of gas to two power projects being constructed in the Telangana region.
Addressing a function at Gandhi Bhavan here on Saturday, organised to felicitate Jaipal Reddy (who was not present) for introducing 27 percent reservation for backward classes in the allotment of petrol pumps, Hanumantha Rao expressed displeasure over the way Jaipal Reddy was being criticised and also on registering of a case against labour minister Danam Nagender in connection with a "temple row".
"How can some Congress leaders go against their colleagues publicly? If anything is wrong, they should sort it out by holding talks among themselves. But today our chief minister has given a public statement through a press release against Jaipal Reddy. The open attack of the chief minister would only give a chance to the Opposition to attack the Congress. The Opposition may today criticise Jaipal Reddy, but tomorrow it could be the chief minister," Rao said.
MP Ponnam Prabhakar told mediapersons at Karimnagar that the chief minister's love towards the Telangana region was deceptive. He wondered how Kiran Reddy could blame Jaipal Reddy for non-allocation of gas, without completing the power projects - one at Nedunur in Karimnagar district and the other at Shankarapalli in Rangareddy district.
MLC and close aide of Jaipal Reddy, K Yadav Reddy alleged that the chief minister's camp was taking up a smear campaign against the Union minister over the gas issue. Speaking to reporters on the Assembly premises here, he accused Kiran Reddy of giving step-motherly treatment to the Telangana region as far as gas-based power projects were concerned.
"The Union government would allocate gas to power projects only after their completion. But the two projects are still under construction. How can Kiran Reddy blame Jaipal Reddy for non-allocation of gas?" he questioned.
The projects could not be completed due to non-allocation of funds by the state government, he alleged.
Palvai Govardhan Reddy also took potshots at the chief minister not on the gas issue but on the controversial Polavaram project.
Talking to reporters, Palvai wanted to know why the chief minister was not considering the suggestion of the Telangana leaders to change project design in order to protect the irrigation interests of the Telangana region. He demanded that the Polavaram design be changed so as to allocate to the Telangana region it due share of 600 TMC of water.
"Is not Telangana a part of Andhra Pradesh? The government seems to be deceiving the people of this region. I warn the chief minister to mend his ways. He should hold a round table conference to discuss the pros and cons of constructing the Polavaram project in the current design," Palvai said.