Hyderabad: With rebellion by Chiranjeevi and his group of MLAs threatening to rock the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh, the party high command on Saturday swung into
action as general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad spoke to the actor-turned-politician.

The 17-member Chiranjeevi group's support holds the key to the survival of the Congress government headed by Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy as it faces voting on the
no-confidence motion on the floor of the Assembly on Monday.

Azad, in charge of party affairs in the state, called Chiranjeevi over phone and is understood to have promised to address the concerns of the MLAs of the erstwhile Praja Rajyam Party. PRP founded by Chiranjeevi with much fanfare later merged with Congress.

"We will take due care of all your interests. Please exercise restraint," Azad was said to have requested Chiranjeevi, sources close to the actor-turned-politician said.

Chiranjeevi and 17 MLAs owing allegiance to him are understood to be unhappy over their not getting ministerial berths despite being promised at the time of PRP's merger with the Congress.

APCC president Botsa Satyanarayana too rushed to Chiranjeevi's residence late on Saturday night as the latter called an emergency meeting of his MLAs to discuss the future course of action.

"The PRP MLAs' anguish is justified. But they will not be sidelined or overlooked in Congress. They will be given due importance in our party," Botsa said after meeting Chiranjeevi.

Chiranjeevi reportedly told both Azad and Botsa that his group of MLAs felt "let down" by the Congress ever since the merger of PRP with the ruling party.

"You seem to be taking us for granted...and not honouring the promises made at the time of merger," Chiranjeevi told the Congress leadership, according to sources.

"This was the cause for heartburn among our MLAs and rank and file", the Tirupati MLA added.

Azad sought to placate Chiranjeevi saying there was no question of ignoring him or his MLAs.

"You know all the developments in the state and at the Centre. Hence some delay in honouring the promises," Azad reportedly told Chiranjeevi.

Though Congress requested Chiranjeevi to issue a whip to all his MLAs to vote against the no-trust motion, he said a decision would be taken on this after another round of meeting on Sunday. 

(Agencies)