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Cracks in Andhra Congress over YSR

By Mohammed Siddique
August 02, 2012 21:04 IST
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The beleaguered Congress in Andhra Pradesh is witnessing a renewed all out war between the loyalists and the opponents of late chief minister Y S Rajashekhar Reddy.

The fight, which had turned subterranean after YSR's family and other loyalists left the Congress in drove and launched their own party, was revived with YSR's close friend and key advisor KVP Ramachandra Rao stunning party leaders with his outburst.

Speaking at the swearing in of the newly elected office bearers of the state Youth Congress, in the presence of the Andhra Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, Rao expressed pain and anguish over the absence of the photo of YSR from the flexi banners put up at the venue.

Rao, who remained in the Congress even as other loyalists left it and who continues to be the Rajya Sabha member of the party, said that YSR remained a Congress man till his last breath. "Making Rahul Gandhi the prime minister was his dream. But it pains me to see that such a leader was being ignored," he said.

His remarks, which evoked emotional slogans from the gathering, specially the youth Congress leaders in support of YSR, have touched the raw nerves of the other Congress leaders.

While Kiran Kumar Reddy avoided any direct comments on the issue, dozens of other senior party leaders have reacted angrily to Rao going to extent of describing him a "covert agent of Jaganmohan Reddy" in the Congress.

Rao's attempt to revive the memory of YSR among the Congress workers came at a time when the state Congress leadership was making a conscious attempt to come out of YSR's shawdows and erase him image from public memory.

Acting on the recommendation of a ten member ministerial committee, the CM passed an order to remove YSR's photo from Aarogya Sree, the popular health insurance scheme for the poor and other schemes and replace them with the photos of the former prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.

Observers feel that Rao's remarks were aimed at that decision and he was trying to exhort the other loyalists to stop that.

Angrily reacting to Rao's remarks Deputy CM Damodar Raja Narasimha said that if YSR's photo has to be put up at the state party headquarter --Gandhi Bhavan -- so should be the photo of T Anjaiah and other former chief ministers.

Another leader V Hanumantha Rao said that Rao's remarks were part of a deliberate conspiracy. Congress MP from Telangana Madhu Yashki said that Rao was enacting a new drama to avoid his imminent arrest for his role in Jaganmohan Reddy's disproportionate assets and various other scams including the leakage of the call data record of the Central Bureau of Investigation Joint Director Lakshminarayana. "KVP Ramachandra Rao is leading the YSR Congress party from the front." Yashki said.


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Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad