While Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, made it clear on Thursday that the party will not take any decision on the issue until the seven-day mourning period is over, party insiders say it will be a while before the leadership zeroes in on the succession plan. Ironically, it is the vacuum left by Reddy which will allow K Rosaiah, who has been sworn in chief minister, to continue in the post. Apparently installed in an interim capacity (there is nothing in the Constitution which makes anyone an interim or caretaker CM), the 77-year old Finance minister in the Reddy cabinet may have a longer run as CM than what many expect.
Reddy had grown so tall in state politics that when he died, there was virtually no challenge to him nor was there any group within the Congress which was working against him. It was Reddy who not only delivered the state once again to the Congress but also was instrumental in bringing 33 MPs (out of 42) into the Lok Sabha which played a crucial role in UPA regaining power at the Centre.
While the Congress core committee or working committee of top leaders who met in Delhi on Thursday discussed the issue of the successor for a while, they failed to take any decision on it.
They decided to leave the issue as it is for now and allow things to settle down. The clamour of the Reddy followers to install his son Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy (36) as successor is unlikely to be met, at least not in the immediate future, Congress sources told Deccan Herald here. This is because the junior Reddy is a mere 100-days old in politics as Lok Sabha MP and does not have the experience to be the CM. However, what turn the pressure from over 100 MLAs and about 20 MPs take to make him the CM remains to be seen. They have written to the Congress high command requesting that Jagan be made the next CM.
While YSR’s loyalists are favouring the entrepreneur, media owner and first-time MP from Cuddapah, seniors in the party are keeping their hopes alive and they won’t give up their claim easily. There are at least six leaders with their loyalists who are readying to lobby for their case for the topmost position. Prominent among them include Union Urban Development Minister S Jaipal Reddy, Purandeshwari, Union minister of state and daughter of Telugu icon N T Rama Rao and PCC chief D Srinivas, who belongs to the backward classes.
Back-stage efforts have been launched by the pro-Jagan group to woo Praja Rajyam Party chief K Chiranjeevi who has 18 MLAs in his kitty. Congress has 156 MLAs in the 294-seat Assembly. The present context might come in handy for Chiranjeevi to make a decision that will not only continue the legacy of YSR but also put him in the government that will enable him to strengthen his base in the next five years before the 2014 elections.