Congress bickerings come to the fore


They also burnt effigies of the contenders to the chief minister’s post, including Union minister S Jaipal Reddy, former home minister K Jana Reddy and PCC chief D Srinivas.

Jagan loyalists disturbed a condolence meeting in the party headquarters presided over by Srinivas, raising slogans in favour of YSR and Jagan, forcing Srinivas to end the meeting half way through.

While the campaign is being stage-managed by first-time MLAs and MPs, their hands were strengthened by two seniors leaders –– CWC member G Venkatswamy and former chief minister N Janardhan Reddy. Venkatswamy said if an inexperienced Rajiv Gandhi could take over as the prime minister of the country after Indira Gandhi’s death, so could an inexperienced Jagan.

Despite a strong message sent by the party high command asking the pro-Jagan group to stop their campaign, MLAs and MPs of the group met separately on Sunday to re-state their demand. But, their activities were scaled down.

An informal meeting of the Congress legislature party, called to discuss the issue of succession was abruptly called off after party general secretary Veerappa Moily expressed high command’s dissatisfaction with the campaign.

The silent rally by the pro-Jagan MLAs, which was to be taken out from the Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly to the official residence of the chief minister was called off, after the organisers received a message from KVP Ramachandra Rao, one of the close friends and advisers of YSR. The condolence meeting at YSR’s official residence, presided over by Chief Minister K Rosaiah, was also toned down and speeches were cancelled.

According to the sources, Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, government chief whip in the state assembly and who was instrumental in calling the informal meeting of the MLAs, received a message from Delhi sternly warning him against pressing ahead with the meeting. However, the MLAs passed a resolution and sent a copy to the high command. Meanwhile, a group of 15 pro-Jagan MPs met AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh separately and conveyed their sentiments.

At another level, two pro-Jagan ministers N Raghuveera Reddy and Botsa Satyanarayana met D Srinivas and urged him to take the initiative with the high command to pave the way for installation of Jagan as the next chief minister. But Srinivas politely excused himself saying he will give his advice only if high command seeks it.

Dismissing the claims of the Jagan supporters that the democratic norm of majority should be applied since 123 MLAs out of 155 reflected the majority opinion, K Keshav Rao, MP and a potential contender for CM’s post, said the argument was “meaningless.”

He said the claim that Jagan had the backing of 123 MLAs was meaningless. “What is bigger? Support of 123 MLAs or Sonia Gandhi's decision,” he asked.

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