Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy continued to draw flak over the steep increase in electricity charges with his own Cabinet colleagues joining the chorus for roll back of the tariff hike and restrict the damage to the party.

After Union Minister K. Chiranjeevi’s missive and critical remarks by Rajya Sabha member V. Hanumantha Rao, it was the turn of Endowments Minister C. Ramachandraiah to criticise the decision which he described as ‘irrational and devoid of logic’.

“It is drawing serious opposition from the people. I cannot understand why the issue was not discussed inside party fora,” he said. He wondered whether APERC would hike the tariff without the approval of the Government.

He took an indirect dig at the Chief Minister for what he called the ‘unilateral decision’ on the tariff hike. Consultations, he observed, always brings out the best suggestions. With elections to local bodies round the corner, the hike was sure to impact the Congress party’s prospects.

Meanwhile, Panchayat Raj Minister K. Jana Reddy and Medical Education Minister Kondru Murali Mohan said they would raise the burden caused on the common man by the power tariff hike at the meeting proposed to be convened by the Chief Minister. “Our concern is that common man should not bear the brunt of the hike,” Mr. Reddy remarked.

ACC chief Botcha Satyanarayana said that, if necessary, the issue would be discussed in party fora also. Former Minister J. C. Diwakar Reddy and senior party MLA Cheruku Muthyam Reddy said curbing power theft and transmission losses would avert the need to hike tariffs. Congress party MLCs K. Yadav Reddy and K. R. Amos demanded roll back of the hike.

Chief Minister continues to draw flak over the matter with Cabinet colleagues too joining the chorus for