Jagan's mother leads in battle against Congress
Srikakulam/Hyderabad: Hitting the campaign trail for bypolls in Andhra Pradesh following the arrest of her son YSR Congress chief Jagan Mohan Reddy, YS Vijaya Lakshmi on Wednesday alleged that there is a conspiracy to defame him and demanded that the Centre and state government clarify "doubts" over the death of her husband YS Rajasekhara Reddy.
With the June 12 bypolls to 18 assembly and one Lok Sabha seat in Andhra Pradesh seen as a battle of prestige against the Congress, Vijaya Lakshmi, president of YSR Congress, plunged into her maiden election campaign at Narasannapet in Srikakulam district.
"There are doubts (about the death of former chief minister Rajasekhara Reddy) like why a chopper, which remained unused for three months, was brought for his use.
"It is the responsibility of central and state governments to clarify these doubts," she said.
Finding fault with the ongoing investigation into the disproportionate assets case against Jagan, she wondered why he was not arrested in the last several months since it began.
"The conspiracy to defame Jagan would not succeed as people love him and late Rajasekhara Reddy a lot," she said.
Vijaya has taken over the mantle of campaigning for the bypolls in the wake of the arrest of Jagan on Sunday.
The bypolls to 16 assembly constituencies are necessitated due to the disqualification of sitting Congress MLAs who switched loyalty to Jagan and voted against the Congress government during a floor test in December last.
Vijaya had made similar allegations after Jagan's arrest alleging that the Congress has been harassing him ever since he chose to defy the party leadership and part ways.
The by-elections, seen as precursor to the 2014 general elections, will be held in the non-Telangana areas of coastal and Rayalseema regions and will be a crucial test for the fledgling YSR Congress, floated by Jagan months after his father YSR Reddy's death in a helicopter crash in 2009, and the Congress.
Meanwhile, state Congress president Botsa Satyanarayana slammed Vijaya for making allegations against Congress, saying it was unfortunate that she was trying to politicise the death of her husband.
Recalling Vijaya's reported comments that she advised Rajasekhara Reddy against undertaking the visit to Chittoor district due to inclement weather when he died in a chopper crash in 2009, the PCC president alleged that she was only trying to gain sympathy in the by-elections.
Speaking to reporters in Hyderabad, he pointed out that several leaders like former Lok Sabha Speaker G M C Balayogi and former Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Dorjee Khandu died in chopper crashes.
Observing that the Congress would explain the "facts to the people during the poll campaign", he said the Congress government in the state would showcase its welfare and development programmes for seeking votes.