A number of Congress leaders are highly critical of the manner in which Health Minister D. L. Ravindra Reddy was dismissed from the Council of Ministers by the Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy.

Chief Minister’s action left the dissident camp dazed while his supporters said the ousted Minister deserved such harsh action. Taken aback by the sudden development, Deputy Chief Minister C. Damodar Raj Narasimha drove down to the residence of Panchayat Raj Minister K. Jana Reddy to discuss the developments.

Mr. Jana Reddy termed the decision, unfortunate but hoped that the high command would intervene to forge unity among the warring leaders. PCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana, who was in Vijayawada kept tab of the developments while some Ministers, who are said to be in the line of fire too, made anxious enquiries. General feeling among the Congress men was that the Minister should have been asked to resign instead of being sacked while on a foreign tour. Rajya Sabha member Palvai Goverdhan Reddy said: “The right thing would have been to seek his explanation instead of meting out such humiliation”.

Others pointed out that there was no need to dismiss Dr. Ravindra Reddy, when he had submitted the resignation letter to the AICC general secretary. “The Chief Minister could have simply forwarded the same to the Governor for acceptance,” a senior Minister told The Hindu on Sunday.

Another Minister said Mr. Kiran Kumar Reddy took ‘sweet revenge’ on his cabinet colleague for the latter’s continuous outbursts. In private, several Ministers said such action was long overdue. They claimed that Chief Minister in fact had got the green signal to act against dissident Ministers three months ago. Chief Minister’s camp followers see a warning signal to all dissidents.

“How can a responsible Minister get away by criticising and belittling own Government? We wholeheartedly support Chief Minister’s decision,” Government Whip T. Jayaprakash Reddy said. Party leaders say the budget session of the Assembly, which resumes its sitting from June 10 could see interesting developments. They point out that the Chief Minister will now concentrate on carrying out re-shuffle of his cabinet Some ministers, who are considered as troublemakers could also be shown the door. They include Ministers Vatti Vasant Kumar and C. Ramachandraiah, sources pointed out. Dr. Reddy is expected to reach the city Monday night and hold consultations with his well wishers and some Ministers too.