AP succession: Jaganmohan makes appeal, invokes high command

Last Updated: Sunday, September 6, 2009 - 23:45

Hyderabad: Congress High Command`s directive
for restraint notwithstanding, there was no let up in the open
campaign by followers of Y S Jaganmohan Reddy to make him as
Chief Minister on a day today when he broke his silence
leaving the issue to the party leadership.

At the same time, the son of late Chief Minister Y S
Rajasekhara Reddy gave ample hints that he was in the race
for succession even as his reluctant followers were persuaded
to join interim Chief Minister K Rosaiah`s Cabinet in which
all the 34 ministers of the YSR team were sworn in.

The swearing-in, which ended confusion over whether the
YSR Cabinet needed to take fresh oath as required under the
Constitution, saw all the loyalists of the late Chief Minister
take the oath after the intervention of Congress observer
Digvijay Singh.

Jaganmohan, who was not present at the condolence meeting
organised by PCC in state Congress headquarters, issued a
four-page statement asking his supporters to stop their
campaign for making him the Chief Minister and said the
decision should be left to the high command.

In a veiled indication that he was not ruling himself out
of the succession race, the 37-year-old first time MP said
party chief Sonia Gandhi respects public perception and
feelings of lakhs of Congress Party workers.

Gandhi, he said, will take a decision in such a way that
his father`s ideals, mission and zeal would not be
compromised.

A day after the Congress leadership told Jagan supporters
not to indulge in open jockeying for chief ministership till
the seven-day mourning period is over on Thursday, Jagan`s
loyalists today converted a condolence meeting to express
their demand for making him YSR`s successor.

At the end of a condolence meeting organised by the PCC,
the crowd of supporters took out placards that read "We want
Jagan as CM" and indulged in incessant slogan shouting. As the
situation appeared to go out of control, Rosaiah, PCC
president D Srinivas, Union ministers S Jaipal Reddy and
D Purandeshwari quietly left the auditorium.

The crowd also did not spare Rajya Sabha member V
Hanumantha Rao, who resented any comparison between Jagan and
late Rajiv Gandhi, who succeeded Indira Gandhi after her
assassination. One of the placards read "VHR go back".

Rao and another Rajya Sabha member K Keshav Rao, who also
criticised any "dynastic succession", also left the stage.

It took the intervention of K V P Ramchandra Rao, a Rajya
Sabha member and advisor to late YSR, who appeared on the
stage and made an emotional appeal to the workers to remain
calm. Rao said Sonia Gandhi was aware of YSR`s popularity with
the masses and support enjoyed by Jagan with YSR`s supporters
and Congress workers.

When news came that a fresh oath of office and secrecy
needed to be administered to ministers of YSR`s Cabinet under
the Constitution, seven to eight die-hard supporters of YSR
including Agriculture Minister P Ramachandra Reddy were said
to be reluctant to take oath saying they would do so only
under Jagan.

After a meeting with Digvijay Singh, who was of the view
that matters should not be precipitated before the mourning
period is over on Thursday, Ramchandra Rao told YSR loyalists
to join the government.

After the swearing-in, some of the ministers urged the
Congress High Command to convene meeting of the Congress
Legislature Party (CLP) after the end of the mourning period.

About 12 to 15 Congress MPs from Andhra Pradesh including
some from the Rajya Sabha met here backing the candidature of
Jagan as Chief Minister and asked convenor of state MPs forum
Punnam Prabhakar to convey their feelings to the High Command.

Some senior leaders including J C Diwakar Reddy and Jana
Reddy met at the residence of union minister S Jaipal Reddy,
who said no significance need to be attached to their meeting.

Jaipal Reddy parried a question whether he was in the
race and whether he supported Jagan as the next CM. The Union
Minister had yesterday ruled himself out of the race.

Jagan, who arrived in Hyderabad with his mother and
sister from Idupulapaya two days after the YSR`s burial, was
not present at the condolence meeting organised by PCC.

In his four-page message, he said he had noticed that
some of the party leaders and workers were rushing to the
media and suggesting their choices for the successor of his
father Y S Rajasekhara Reddy.

"I request everyone with folded hands to stop such
activities by going to the media, signature campaigns, using
of banners, placards, demonstrations for my leadership as the
successor of our beloved departed leader as this is not the
time or the occasion," Jagan Reddy said.

"On my part, like my father, I am duty bound to be a
loyal and disciplined Congress worker. We are in mourning with
deep heart. As a disciplined soldier of the Congress Party
it gives pain to the soul of our beloved leader," he added.

"Our high command knows and more particularly our
beloved leader Sonia Gandhi respects the public perception and
feelings of lakhs of Congress Party workers and she knows too
well what is good for all of us and what is good for our state
and people," Jagan, who arrived here today from Idupulapaya,
two days after last rites for his late father, said.

Bureau Report



First Published: Sunday, September 6, 2009 - 23:45

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