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YSR Son Jaganmohan Throws A Challenge

After defying the Congress high command by undertaking a tour of Telangana region, Y S Jaganmohan Reddy on Monday said he was ready to quit as Kadapa MP if it was proved that he had
PTI May 31, 2010 23:03 IST
PTI

After defying the Congress high command by undertaking a tour of Telangana region, Y S Jaganmohan Reddy on Monday said he was ready to quit as Kadapa MP if it was proved that he had politicised the visit even as he insisted on continuing with the yatra.

Jaganmohan, who arrived here last night, said he had come to meet the Congress leadership to convince it that his yatra was apolitical in nature and that he had full faith in party President Sonia Gandhi. Congress said the matter is "under consideration" of the party high command and whatever action is necessary, it will be taken.

Alleging that his opponents had sent an adverse report to the Congress leadership, Reddy said, "I have sought appointments with the party high command to apprise them of what has happened. I will explain them that I have done nothing wrong."

The MP, who is in the eye of a storm over his tour, said it was his "moral responsibility" to go, meet and console the families of those who had either died or allegedly committed suicide after hearing the news of the death of his father Y S Rajasekhara Reddy.

"It is my duty and moral responsibility. I went to Khammam district some time back and I met 54 families there," said the 37-year-old MP while describing himself as a "dutiful" son of late Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister.

"Never ever I had made a single political statement. You can recall the tapes and if you can prove that even in one meeting in Khammam district in Telangana that I have politicised (the yatra) I am ready to go to any extent even I am ready to resign," he said. Asked whether he would continue with the tour, Reddy said it "cannot be stopped" as he was "committed to that level what I am doing."

He said he wanted to meet the party leadership to ask it that he wanted to continue with the tour. When asked about the issue, Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan said the "matter is under consideration of the party high command" and "whatever action is required, will be taken by the General Secretary in charge" of Andhra Pradesh.

She said there was no timeframe for any action.  To a question, she said the Congress is over 100 years old and it is "not going to be weakened by any individual".
Law Minister M Veerappa Moily, who is in-charge of Andhra Pradesh, sought to play down the issue, saying "everything is normal."

Describing Reddy as the "son of a great leader (Rajshekhara Reddy)", Moily said in Bangalore that the MP will "always" remain in Congress, dispelling speculation about split in the party in Andhra Pradesh.

"I have done nothing wrong. I just visited the families of those who had sacrificed their lives for my father. Is it wrong? I am undertaking the yatra not as a politician, but as the son of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy," Jaganmohan Reddy said.  He said the decision to meet those families was not taken now but in September last year, days after his father died in a helicopter crash.

"I have full faith in Congress president Sonia Gandhi. I will explain to the High Command that there is nothing political in the yatra. This is purely personal," the MP said.
"Don't create a situation as if there is a standoff between me and the party," he said.

He is in the eye of a storm ever since he defied the party high command's directive and went ahead with his tour of the sensitive Telangana region on Friday.

A day earlier, Moily had asked him not to go ahead with the yatra given the situation in the region, but a defiant Jaganmohan went ahead and was taken into preventive custody.  He was forced to abandon the yatra after violence erupted in Mahaboobabad town in Warangal district, the hotbed of the separate state agitation.

Pro-Telangana groups opposed the visit as he is against bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. Jaganmohan had earlier embarrassed the Congress High Command in December last when he joined TDP members in Parliament in opposing the creation of Telangana state.

Reddy asserted that his yatra in Srikakulam in coastal Andhra will go ahead as planned on June eight as he was "committed" to it. The tour of sensitive Telangana is already over. Reddy, who is in the eye of a storm for the yatra in Telangana region, met Ahmed Patel, Political Adviser to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, and explained his position.

However, his desire to meet senior Congress leader Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee could not be fulfilled as he was told to meet Law Minister Veerappa Moily, party General Secretary in charge of Andhra Pradesh instead. Accusing his opponents in his party of sending "adverse report" about his visit to the party high command, Reddy  reposed full faith in the party President on the issue.

"I have done nothing wrong. I just visited the families of those who had sacrificed their lives for my father. Is it wrong? I am undertaking the yatra not as a politician, but as the son of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy," Reddy said. 

He said it was his "moral responsibility" to go, meet and console the families of those who had either died or committed suicide after hearing the news of the death of his father.

"It is my duty and moral responsibility. I went to Khammam district some time back and I met 54 families there," said Reddy while describing himself as a "dutiful" son of the former Andhra Chief Minister.

"Never ever I had made a single political statement. You can recall the tapes and if you can prove that even in one meeting in Khammam district in Telangana that I have politicised (the yatra) I am ready to go to any extent even I am ready to resign," he said. Asked whether he would continue with the tour, Reddy said it "cannot be stopped" as he was "committed" to it. "Why should I abandon? I don't know from where this question arises. I am doing this in my personal capacity as the son of my late father," he said.

Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan said the matter is "under consideration" of the party high command and whatever "suitable"action is necessary, it will be taken by the General Secretary in charge of the state Veerappa Moily. She said there was no timeframe for any action. To a question, Natarajan said the Congress is over 100 years old and it is "not going to be weakened by any individual".

Moily, whom Reddy is expected to meet on Tuesday, sought to play down the issue, saying "everything is normal."  Describing Reddy as the "son of a great leader (Rajshekhara Reddy)", Moily said in Bangalore that the MP will "always" remain in Congress, dispelling speculation about split in the party in Andhra Pradesh. 

Reddy said, "I have full faith in Congress president Sonia Gandhi. I will explain to the High Command that there is nothing political in the yatra. This is purely personal."
"Don't create a situation as if there is a standoff between me and the party," he said. 

He said the decision to meet those families was not taken now but in September last year, days after his father died in a helicopter crash.

"I will continue with this yatra. If I abandon I cease to be his son. I am doing this because many people lost their lives after hearing the death of my father. If someone dies for your father won't you go and meet them. This is basic human courtesy and what is wrong in that," Reddy asserted. 

Accusing TRS of politicising the issue of his tour, Jagan alleged that the opposition party orchestrated violence just to gain political mileage ahead of the by-elections in the region.

"There are some rivals for me in the party who have given an adverse report about me to the High Command. I also appeal to TRS through the media before going on the yatra that I am even ready to postpone the yatra till the by-elections are over just to convey my point my yatra is apolitical. I made that gesture also," he said. 

On the speculation that his yatra was aimed at destabilsing the Rosaiah government, he said, "the fact is that I am not fighting Rosaiah there. I need not consider him as a threat. I trust Madam (Sonia Gandhi) and inspite of this particular incident (violence) and non-performance of government I have come here to explain my position." Asked whether Rosaiah was responsible for not controlling violence, he shot back, "Don't you think." 

He went on to add that while TRS chief K Chandrashekhar Rao was "responsible" for violence, "not controlling is the responsibilty of the Rosaiah administration". He is in the eye of a storm ever since he defied the party high command's directive and went ahead with his tour of the sensitive Telangana region on Friday. PTI