Hyderabad: A day after asking Congress MLAs who have been openly siding with former MP Y S Jaganmohan Reddy to resign from their posts, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy on Sunday appeared to have backtracked even as the "rebels" upped their ante against him.
"Raat gayi, baat gayi... yesterday is past," was the curt response Kiran gave when reporters tried to raise the issue at a press conference in the state Secretariat.
The Chief Minister refused to take any questions on the subject even as he came under sharp criticism from some senior Congress MLAs in the state for asking the rebel MLAs to quit.
Addressing a press conference in New Delhi yesterday, Kiran Kumar termed the siding of the ruling party MLAs with Jagan as "immoral" and asked them to resign from their posts.
Jagan, son of late chief minister Y S R Reddy, had recently quit Congress accusing it of humiliating his family.
Accepting the Chief Minister`s challenge, the rebel MLAs sailing with Jagan said they were ready to quit if the former too stepped down.
On the other hand, senior Congress MLAs and former ministers Gade Venkata Reddy, Peddireddi Ramachandra Reddy and G Kutuhalamma found fault with the Chief Minister for publicly asking the party MLAs to resign.
"I don`t understand what made him talk like that but asking the MLAs to quit is not correct," Gade said.
Kutuhalamma went a step ahead and maintained that Kiran had no authority to seek the MLAs` resignation.
"Who is he to ask the MLAs to quit? It is for the party high command to decide," Kutuhalamma said.
Peddireddi, a sworn rival of Kiran, dared the latter to get the rebel MLAs suspended from the party.
"By asking the MLAs to resign, the Chief Minister only exposed his inefficiency," the former minister observed.
Peddireddi too said he was ready to step down and seek a fresh mandate and demanded that Kiran should follow suit.