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War of words during no-trust motion in AP assembly

December 05, 2011 21:27 IST

Speaking for the first time in the Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly after she was elected six months ago, YS Vijayalakshmi, widow of former Chief Minister Y S Rajashekhar Reddy, defended her son and member of Parliament YS Jaganmohan Reddy.

On the no-trust motion, moved by main opposition Telugu Desam Party against Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy's government, Vijayalakshmi denied that after YSR's death in 2009, Jagan had staked a claim to the leadership.

Exuding confidence, Vijayalakshmi, the honorary president of YSR Congress, refuted the criticism of Transport Minister Botsa Satyanarayana against her son and said that he had never asked Congress president Sonia Gandhi to make him the chief minister.

"He had only asked her permission for Odarpu Yatra to condole those families whose members had committed suicide after the death of YSR," she said.

She was supported and exhorted by many Congress MLAs who are siding with Jagan.

In fact in the entire debate on the no confidence motion, attention was focussed on Jagan's supporters and the question discussed every where was how many Congress MLAs will vote against the Congress government when the motion was taken up for voting.

The meeting Jagan had called to discuss the strategy was attended by 20 MLAs who said that they will vote against the government.

The debate was still continuing and the House was likely to vote later in the night.

Earlier, the debate witnessed many acrimonious exchanges between the leader of opposition N Chandrababu Naidu and the chief minister.

Naidu said that his party was moving the no-trust motion in a very extraordinary situation as the government had failed on all the fronts.

"The motion is not only against the chief minister but all the ministers as the government has lost the confidence of the House. The government has become a big joke in the eyes of the people", Naidu said.

Ridiculing the Congress claim that it was a "farmers government" Naidu said that the government's neglect of agriculture sector had triggered the new wave of farmers suicide in the state.

Farmers did not get seeds, fertilizer and power and now they were not getting the minimum support price for their produce, he said calling for the ouster of the government.

At one stage, the House witnessed angry exchanges between Naidu and Kiran Kumar when the chief minister retorted by saying, "We don't need Chandrababu's confidence. We are in power with the support of the people".

Naidu made some personal attacks on Kiran Kumar saying he had become the chief minister at the mercy of AICC President Sonia Gandhi and called him a 'nominated chief minister'.

"You got the post by falling on Sonia's feet. You are a sealed cover CM and yours is a spineless leadership", he said. Naidu also criticised Reddy's leadership saying even the ministers were not listening him.

In his retort the chief minister said that while he and his father Amarnath Reddy won 12 elections as Congress candidates sine 1962, and had the support of MLAs and blessings of Sonia Gandhi,  Naidu had become the chief minister by backstabbing his father in law.

Reddy also reminded Naidu that he was facing inquiry by the CBI in to his assets. "You have no right to talk about the corruption", he said.

While Naidu focussed his attacks on the failures of the government specially in helping the farmers, others parties were supporting the no confidence motion for various other reasons.

E Rajinder of Telangana Rashtra Samithi said that his party wants this government to go as the Congress had betrayed and cheated the people of Telangana by not granting the separate state. "It's the Congress credit that he went back on Telangana after promising the same in its manifesto, and announcing it in Parliament".

He also charged the government with unleashing a reign of terror against the students and youth agitating for Telangana. Rajinder also criticised the Telugu Desam for not supporting the demand for Telganana state.

Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen floor leader Akbaruddin Owaisi on the other hand said that it was supporting the Congress government in the larger interest of the minority community.

But he also critical that not all the promises and announcements made by the government for the minority community were fulfilled and implemented.

As the effective strength of the assembly has come down from 294 to 287 as seven seats were vacant, the government needs only 145 votes to save itself. But it has the support of more than 160 members.

As many more members were scheduled to speak on the motion, the voting was likely to take place late in the night.

The no confidence motion has the support of about 100 members including 86 of TDP, 12 of TRS, 2 of the BJP, four of the Communist Party of India, and one each of CPI-Marxist and YSR Congress. Though 20 rebel Congress MLAs, supporting YS Jaganmohan Reddy has also announced that they will vote against the government, it remains to be seen how many of them will take the threat to a logical conclusion and invite the disqualification by voting for the motion.

Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad