Who will be YSR’s successor? The suspense continues


Hyderabad : With the central leadership of the Congress maintaining silence on the issue, suspense continues as to who would be the next chief minister of Andhra Pradesh.

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Though the seven-day mourning period for Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, who died in a helicopter crash last Wednesday, has ended, the leadership is yet to indicate whether it will choose a leader or call a meeting of legislators to elect a chief minister.

Despite consultations with party MPs and senior leaders, including the late chief minister’s close confidant and Rajya Sabha MP K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao in the last four days, there is no official word on whether senior central leaders would be sent to Hyderabad for discussions.

The silence has upset the ministers, MPs and others pitching hard for YSR’s son Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy and triggered speculation that the leadership offered him the post of either deputy chief minister or a minister in the central cabinet.

A group of MPs lobbying for Jagan, as he is popularly known, met union minister S. Jaipal Reddy, seen as one of the contenders for the chief minister’s post, in New Delhi Friday.

According to P. Prabhakar, convenor of the state Congress MP’s forum, and Warangal MP T. Rajaiah, Jaipal Reddy told them that he had conveyed to Congress president Sonia Gandhi that he was not in the race and he had no idea how his name cropped up.

However, Jaipal Reddy himself made no statement and told reporters that he had nothing to say.

Ministers loyal to Jagan have also denied reports that the leadership had refused to make the bereaved son chief minister because of his political inexperience and offered him another key post.

“There is no doubt that Jaganmohan Reddy will become the chief minister. There is no other alternative. There is no truth in some media reports that he was offered some other post,” said Minister for Secondary Education Manikya Varaprasad.

Ramachandra Rao, who met Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other senior leaders in Delhi during the last three days in Delhi, returns to Hyderabad Friday to attend an all-party condolence meeting.

Several MPs, who had been camping in Delhi for the last few days to lobby for Jagan, are also arriving here to attend the meeting.

Congress legislators, who rushed here Thursday in anticipation of the leadership convening the legislature party meeting, will also be present.

Jagan, however, has refused to attend though Acting Chief Minister K. Rosaiah personally met him to invite him to the meeting.

Jagan’s camp claims the support of 154 out of 155 state legislators and 40 out of 46 MPs from the state.