HYDERABAD: The body of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy is yet to be laid to rest, but mourning in Hyderabad has given way to ugly power politics with the deceased chief minister’s loyalists on Thursday unleashing a strident campaign for making his son Jaganmohan Reddy the new chief minister.
The campaign — quite unprecedented for the vulgar haste with which it has been mounted — reached a crescendo by evening when K Rosaiah was sworn in as interim CM. The erstwhile YSR cabinet in the presence of new CM Rosaiah passed a resolution on Thursday evening demanding that Jagan — just 100 days into formal politics — be made the new CM.
“Jagan knew the mind of Rajasekhara Reddy. He alone can finish the unfulfilled agenda of his father,” said government chief whip Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka who is marshalling the MLAs in favour of Jagan. Analysts said that more than Jagan it’s the lobby that gained from YSR that wants the son to take over the reins of the state, with a view to perpetuate status quo.
Congress sources in Delhi, however, said the high command was taking a dim view of this unseemly strong-arm tactic to push through Jagan as CM. They threw up other names as possible successor: Union urban development minister Jaipal Reddy, minister of state for defence Pallam Raju, NTR’s daughter and junior Union minister Purandeshwari Devi and acting CM K Rosaiah.
The day of dramatic developments began soon after it became clear that Rajasekhara Reddy had perished in the helicopter crash. Minutes after the bodies were recovered, the “Jagan-as-CM” campaign picked up momentum. Almost all the state ministers, about 22 MPs and several Congress legislators pitched Jagan’s case to the media even as hundreds of party workers gathered at the secretariat, CM’s camp office, Gandhi Bhavan and various traffic intersections vocally making a similar demand.
By the afternoon, the Jagan group met Union law minister M Veerappa Moily at the Lake View guest house in pursuance of their demand even as many Congress MLAs faxed individual memorandum to the party headquarters in New Delhi in support of Jagan as CM.
By the evening, minutes after K Rosaiah was sworn in as chief minister, the Jagan loyalists met governor N D Tiwari and submitted a list of 122 signatures in support of him being made the chief minister. According to sources, there was even an attempt to pressure the governor to swear in Jagan as acting CM immediately, but that was abandoned as Rosaiah had already been sworn in by the time the loyalists reached Raj Bhavan.
Analysts said that the Jagan camp realised that there would be a power struggle for the CM’s post and therefore decided to make the pitch first. An ungainly battle is imminent as there are many other aspirants for the CM’s post including Rajya Sabha members V Hanumantha Rao and K Keshava Rao, apart from Jaipal Reddy, Pallam Raju and Purandeshwari Devi.
Jagan, 36, is a first time MP from Kadapa and is merely 100 days old in politics. While Veerappa Moily made it clear that Rosaiah was only an interim CM and that the Congress high command will chose YSR’s successor in the next few days, the Jagan votaries seem ready to take on the central leadership on the issue.