A game of one-upmanship began in the Congress and YSR Congress as efforts to initiate action against rebel MLAs gained momentum within hours of two separate no confidence motions being served on Thursday.

While a determined Congress wanted to tackle the rebels by taking action immediately, the latter also strategically decided to avoid the disciplinary proceedings till the motion was taken up in the House.

Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy set the tone by saying that the party has been asked to serve notices on the defiant MLAs.

He, however, made it clear that those raising the Telangana statehood issue will not attract notices, but was non-committal in his response to a question whether rebel Ministers would face similar action.

Taking the cue, Chief Whip Gandra Venkataramana Reddy told reporters that action would be initiated against the rebel MLAs immediately. Those who are on the party’s radar are R.V.S.K. Ranga Rao (Bobbili), Dwarampudi Chandrasekhara Reddy (Kakinada City), M. Rajesh (Chintalapudi), A.K. Srinivas (Eluru), Perini Venkataramaiah (Machilipatnam), Gottipati Ravi Kumar (Addanki) and Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy (Punganur).

On a day of fast-paced developments, a senior Minister dropped hints that the rebels had called on Speaker Nadendla Manohar seeking to withdraw their resignation letters. Mr. Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy indeed withdrew his letter while three others – Mr. Rajesh, Mr. Ranga Rao and Mr. Srinivas – may follow suit on Friday.

YSRC leaders, however, described the withdrawal of resignations as a strategy to pre-empt the Congress party’s move to see that their resignations are not accepted. But the rebels would ultimately vote against the government.

The MLAs are confident that once they withdraw their letters, the Congress cannot take action even if they vote against the government. The Congress Legislature Party will have to seek their disqualification for defying the party whip.