Speculation rife over Jagan group's reaction to unveiling of YSR's statue by Congress
History may repeat itself in the politically hyper-sensitive city where statues have always been symbols of political legacy.
A new statue of former Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy is ready for unveiling and it remains to be seen whether the YSR Congress followers in the city would prefer to be silent spectators to the proposed Congress spectacle.
Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee president Botcha Satyanarayana is to unveil it on Friday, but the programme has been cancelled. It is to be seen how the YSR Congress leaders react to it.
The cost of installing the majestic statue was borne entirely by the Rajagopal Foundation. Vijayawada MP Lagadapati Rajagopal has the backing of the Lanco group of companies and is one of the participants of the padayatra taken out by Dr. Reddy, which is said to have brought the Congress back to power after a nine-year stint of Telugu Desam rule.
Caught in crossfire
Ironically, Dr. Reddy was himself caught in the crossfire of such a legacy war when he came to the city as CLP leader to unveil the statue of Vangaveeti Mohana Ranga Rao.
The cost for installing the statue was borne by Mohana Ranga Rao's ardent followers in the Congress led by Malladi Vishnu.
The widow of Ranga Rao, Ratnakumari, who was TDP MLA, had opposed it. She even pre-empted Dr. Reddy by getting her son Radhakrishna, then a teenager, unveil the statue.
Ms. Ratnakumari's followers also lobbed ‘goli-soda' bottles at the CLP leader when he came to unveil the statue later.
Mr. Radhakrishna and Mr. Vishnu clashed again on the 20th death anniversary of Mohana Ranga Rao (2008) when the latter draped the statue with a Congress flag. Mr. Radhakrishna, who had quit the Congress to join the Praja Rajyam Party (PRP), removed the flag and his followers attacked Mr. Vishnu's office that was nearby.
The way Mr. Vishnu stood up to Mr. Radhakrishna won him the admiration of many Mohana Ranga Rao's followers.
This translated into votes in the Assembly election. Mr. Vishnu got only a slim majority with which he won against Mr. Radhakrishna in a constituency that voted Mohana Ranga Rao and his family members, including his son, four times to the State Assembly.
More recently, YSR Congress activists vied with Congress workers to “purify statue with milk” over a trivial issue.
The police had to close the curtains on the matter by arresting leaders of the YSR Congress.