Alleged attempt to lure his uncle was the last straw

After staying away from the party mainstream for months, Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, son of the former Chief Minister, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, tendered his resignation from the Kadapa Lok Sabha seat and also quit the Congress on Monday to chart his own political future.

Mr. Reddy's rebellion came in the form of a five-page letter he faxed to AICC president Sonia Gandhi informing her that his mother Y. Vijayalakshmi, was also resigning from the party's primary membership as well as the Pulivendula MLA post.

Although YSR's son has been consistently defying his high command by undertaking the ‘Odarpu Yatra' against its wishes and through unflattering comments about the Congress in his television channel, Sakshi, the trigger for his resignation was what he called the attempt to lure his uncle Y.S. Vivekananda Reddy with the offer of a Cabinet berth and “thereby create fissures in my family.”

The timing of the resignation — two days ahead of the swearing-in-ceremony of the new Council of Ministers on Wednesday — rattled the party in the State. Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, who returned from New Delhi after completing the exercise of choosing his Ministers, hurriedly convened a meeting of MLAs and MLCs to review the sudden turn of events. Earlier in the day, Mr. Jaganmohan Reddy's followers tore away posters and burnt effigies of Ms. Sonia Gandhi in several places and staged demonstrations against the AICC. In Mr. Reddy's native Kadapa, the District Congress Committee (DCC) office-bearers resigned en masse, ransacked furniture and re-named the party office from Indira Bhavan to YSR Bhavan.

The Congress was, however, prepared for this eventuality and had secured from Mr. Chiranjeevi's Praja Rajyam a promise to support the government. A PR spokesperson said, “if there is a crisis, we will extend outside support to the Congress as we promised earlier. But, we will not join the Cabinet.”

While preparing for any eventuality, the government does not feel immediately threatened. Firstly, Mr. Reddy declared in his letter that he would not ask MLAs in his camp to resign. Secondly, the ruling party is convinced that he does not have sufficient following among the MLAs to pull down the government.