On the eve of first death anniversary of his father Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, defiant Congress MP Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy appeared all set to go ahead with his controversial yatra by saying it has brought him people's "love".
"You know whatever is happening. I need not tell you. I can say one thing. I am able to stand here with a smile only because of your love and affection," he told a group of people in his native Kadapa district. Although Jagan did not pointedly say if he would resume the yatra which Congress had asked him to call off, his close aide and suspended Congress leader Ambati Rambabu said
"Jagan is going ahead with the yatra from Friday " Andhra Pradesh Mines Minister Balineni Srinivasa Reddy, a close relative of Jagan, also said the 'odarpu yatra' would begin in Prakasam district on September three as scheduled. The yatra would continue for 15 days in Prakasam district, he said.
Jagan reached his native Kadapa town today where he inaugurated a statue of Rajasekhara Reddy."There is no reconsideration of the yatra. It will continue as scheduled," Rambabu, who was suspended from Congress recently for publicly criticising Chief Minister K Rosaiah, told PTI.
Rambabu was asked whether Jagan will change his mind in view of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's remarks hailing Rajasekhara Reddy as a "great leader from Andhra Pradesh" and Congress deciding to provide compensation to the families of all those who committed suicide or died of shock after hearing the death of YSR in a helicopter crash.
"These (PM's statement and Congress move) will not affect the yatra. Odarpu yatra is a sentimental one and it will continue," Rambabu said. Ahead of the first death anniversary of late Rajasekhara Reddy, Jagan would pay tributes to his father at a burial site at Idupulapaya family estate in native Kadapa district and participate in all-religion prayer and mass feeding at the family estate tomorrow, sources close to him said in Kadapa.
After participating in local programmes, he will leave for Giddalur in Prakasam district on September three from where he would launch is yatra. Jagan's decision to go ahead with the yatra came despite a warning from senior Congress leader and Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee against doing so.
Meanwhile, several senior Congress leaders, including ministers and MLAs, advised Jagan to follow party discipline. "The decision of the high command to give financial assistance to families of those who died is a rare honour bestowed on Rajasekhara Reddy. Jagan should own the high command's programme and make it the odarpu yatra," state Secondary Education Minister D Manikya Vara Prasad, once a staunch supporter of Jagan, said.