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YSR faced no opposition in Congress

A Ganesh Nadar in Hyderabad | May 12, 2004 20:38 IST

In what could be seen as a setback to the demand for a separate state of Telangana, Congress leader Y S Rajasekhar Reddy failed to mention the issue in his first address to party legislators after being selected as its chief ministerial candidate.

This despite the party having fought the elections in alliance with the Telangana Rashtra Samiti, which is spearheading the movement.

With enough legislators to form a government on its own, the Congress seems to be avoiding the demand for Telangana.

Earlier at 1120 IST on Wednesday, journalists were asked to leave the Committee Hall in the Andhra Pradesh assembly complex where Congress MLAs were to meet to select their leader. Journalists were asked to leave.

AP Congress Committee president D Srinivas was adamant that his party's newly elected legislators should choose their leader without any outside influence.

After deliberating for two-and-a-half hours, Reddy emerged as the overwhelming choice to head the state legislature party.

In between, All India Congress Committee observers Ghulam Nabi Azad and Shivraj Patil reportedly took up a lot of time with their speeches.

They first thanked everybody who made the Congress' victory possible. Then they gave a brief introduction about Y S Rajasekhar Reddy, who was the top contender for the chief minister's post, his early life and his contribution to the party. Notably, he was made state Congress president in 1985 by none other than Rajiv Gandhi.

Then Srinivas proposed YSR's name, which was supported by everyone.

But in the best traditions of the Congress, Azad called up party president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi to seek her permission. Patil, too, spoke to her.

Then YSR addressed the legislators. He said transparency would be the hallmark of his government and sought their cooperation. The thrust would be on irrigation, agriculture and unemployment.

A commission would be set up to enquire into allegations of financial irregularities by the Telugu Desam Party government.

In what will come as a relief to Information Technology companies, Reddy said IT projects started up by the previous government would be continued.

However, he did not mention an important issue: Telangana.

When the meeting broke up at 1400 IST, a sea of humanity was waiting for the legislators outside the hall.

The new chief minister will be sworn in on May 14 at 1300 IST.

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