A proposed informal meeting of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) on Saturday evening was cancelled.
Government Chief Whip Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka said that instead, the party legislators would assemble and pay floral tributes to the former Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy who died in a tragic helicopter crash on September 2.
The CLP members had planned a silent rally in the morning as a mark of respect to their departed leader. Though the rally was said to be a gesture to express their condolences to the bereaved family, some Congress leaders saw it more as “show of strength in support of Rajasekhara Reddy’s son Jagan Mohan Reddy.”
Instead, all party legislators would go to the former Chief Minister’s residence, where a condolence meeting has been planned.
According to informed sources, the decision to convene an informal CLP meeting drew a lot of flak. A senior Minister in the YSR Cabinet was said to have been pulled up for calling the meeting, “which was sending a wrong signal to the party high command.”
Meanwhile, MLAs, MPs and members of the Legislative Council of the party have started mounting pressure on the Congress leadership for anointment of Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy as the chief minister.
Even as Union Law Minister and in-charge of party affairs in the State M. Veerappa Moily warned partymen against raising the issue at the present juncture, the elected representatives have commenced efforts to pre-empt reported moves by senior leaders like S. Jaipal Reddy and D. Srinivas to take over the top post.
The party MLCs went a step ahead by passing a unanimous resolution, requesting party president Sonia Gandhi to appoint Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy as chief minister. They said this was necessary to maintain unity among the party rank and file or else “utter chaos is likely to prevail in the party as well as the State.”
More than 30 MLCs, who signed the resolution, pledged to continue their struggle for appointment of Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy, for he was “the right choice to succeed Rajasekhara Reddy.” They were “prepared to relinquish their posts given by Dr. Reddy,” if their request was not conceded.
The MLCs, who convened an impromptu meeting here on Saturday, decided to meet Ms. Gandhi once the mourning period is over to impress upon her the need to install Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy as chief minister.
MLC P.V. Ranga Rao claimed that experience should not become an impediment in appointing Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy as chief minister. He said, “the leadership should not impose a new leader on us.”