Tempers are rising in Telangana against the ‘Odarpu Yatra' (consoling tour) proposed to be undertaken in Warangal by Congress MP Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy from May 28 as several ruling party leaders and Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) upped the ante on Tuesday.
Congress leaders are getting worked up over the possible dilution of the ‘Telangana sentiment' while the TRS has openly warned the government to prevent repetition of the situation that prevailed in December by forcing Mr. Jagan to call of his tour.
A delegation of 11 party MPs from Telangana met AICC general secretaries Ahmed Patel and M. Veerappa Moily in New Delhi urging them to prevail upon YSR's son to call off his tour. S. Rajaiah, Warangal MP, told The Hindu that the tour could add fuel to the already surcharged atmosphere. “If something untoward happens, it will be a threat to the government. The yatra is neither useful to the party nor the government,” he observed. The MPs wanted Mr. Jagan to cover other districts and plan his visit to Warangal sometime after December. Some feared that one untoward incident could change the entire political scenario in the region making it difficult for them to tour their constituencies. Interestingly, a number of MPs had earlier welcomed the yatra stating that it was purely a private one.
Warangal district observed a complete bandh on Tuesday on a call given by the Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC). There was tension in Kazipet when TRS activists thwarted attempts of local Congress leaders to install YSR's statue in the town square. Buoyed by the success of the bandh, TRS chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao addressed a hurriedly convened press conference where he warned of a war-like situation in Telangana if the yatra was allowed.
The Jagan camp appeared equally determined to go ahead with the yatra on the ground that it had no political agenda and was solely meant to console families of those who died after YSR's demise in a helicopter crash. Government Whip and YSR loyalist Sake Sailajanath said the Constitution gave every citizen the right to travel anywhere and express his views freely.
Former Minister Konda Surekha, who has shouldered the responsibility of making the ‘Odarpu Yatra' a success told reporters that Mr. Jagan would arrive by train at Mahabubabad on May 28 at 9.45 a.m. During his five-day tour of the district covering 1,150 km, he would call on 75 families, who lost one member after YSR's death.