Cong resumes efforts to settle AP stalemate

Cong resumes efforts to settle AP stalemate

The Finance Minister and the party’s chief trouble-shooter Pranab Mukherjee is likely to have a meeting with K V P Ramachandra Rao, a Rajya Sabha member from the State, late at night on Sunday. Rao is a friend of the late Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy and the main advocate for the deceased leader’s son Jaganmohan Reddy in the race to the highest office in the State Government.

The Congress high-command is reluctant to put Jagan, a political greenhorn, in the office of the Chief Minister; although a campaign projecting the 37-year-old first-time MP as a possible successor of YSR had begun in Andhra Pradesh, soon after his father had died in a helicopter crash on September 3.  “Let the situation be normal. The high-command will take a decision at an appropriate time,” Mukherjee told journalists ahead of his meeting with Rao.  He, however, said that the party top brass would take into account the popular sentiment in Andhra Pradesh in favour of Jagan before making a decision.

“We are fully aware of the popular support in the State. We know that there is an emotional upsurge. We know that many people committed suicide and many people want Jagan. All these will be factored in when the high-command takes a decision,” he said.

Sources in the party said that Mukherjee might tell Rao that YSR’s 37-year-old son could choose either Deputy Chief Minister’s post or a ministerial berth in the Union Cabinet. The party might also consider putting Jagan at the helm of the Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC).

“We believe in timing. (We) will time it in an appropriate way because we have to provide a stable government in Andhra Pradesh for four-and-a-half years more,” Law Minister M Veerappa Moily told journalists on Sunday. He is in charge of the party’s affairs in the State.

Moily had a meeting with Rao on Saturday after the latter had returned to New Delhi from a brief tour to Hyderabad. Sources said that Rao consulted with Jagan and rest of YSR’s family on Friday and he apprised them of the party high-commands’ views on the succession issues. If Jagan camp does not accept the high-command’s offer, the Congress may ask the current Chief Minister K Rosaiah to continue at the helm of the State Government at least till the issue is resolved.