Hyderabad, March 22: The slanging match between Union Minister of State for Tourism K Chiranjeevi and former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh N Kiran Kumar Reddy over the state bifurcation turned more acrimonious on Saturday.
While Chiranjeevi held Kiran responsible for the division, the latter hit back saying that the actor-turned-politician was speaking like "a comedian".
Chiranjeevi also accused Kiran of corruption.
The exchange began two days ago when Chiranjeevi, now the AP Congress campaign committee chairman, sought to project all other parties as villains over the state bifurcation but singled out Kiran for an especially vitriolic attack.
"Kiran let AP be divided only to protect his Chief Minister's position. He was fully aware of the Centre's plan and hence was solely responsible for bifurcation," he said.
Kiran, who quit the Chief Minister's post protesting the bifurcation and subsequently floated Jai Samaikyaandhra party, countered, pointing out that he gave up his post when the Centre went ahead with the bifurcation process.
"It was Chiranjeevi who ran from pillar to post in Delhi for the CM's post, after I resigned," Kiran alleged.
During the Congress's bus yatra in north coastal Andhra in the last two days, the Union Minister sharpened his attack on Kiran, accusing him of corruption.
"It was way back in January 2010 that (Congress chief) Sonia Gandhi told Kiran of the plans to constitute regional development councils for Telangana and other backward regions of the state, but he stoutly opposed the move. Sonia herself told me this," Chiranjeevi said.
"Had he accepted this proposal, the state division would not have happened," Chiranjeevi said, speaking in Visakhapatnam today.
In Vijaywada, Kiran reacted, saying, "That's the problem with film stars....they just read out a written script. It's a pity that Chiranjeevi doesn't even know the facts. I became the Chief Minister only in November 2010.
"You were a good hero but now you are playing a comedian's role," Kiran said.
As Chiranjeevi kept up his diatribe against Kiran, the cricketer-turned-politician, who is conducting a roadshow in Krishna district, said, "It is better if he (Chiranjeevi) stops talking. If I open my mouth, he will have to scurry for cover.
"(As) The one who read out from a piece of paper while talking on the AP Reorganisation Bill in Rajya Sabha, Chiranjeevi has no right to criticize me," Kiran added.