Within hours of the official announcement of Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy’s death in a helicopter crash, numerous State Congress leaders, Ministers and MLAs have urged the party high command to name his son and Kadapa MP, Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy, as the next Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh.

These leaders assert that the State needs a strong and youthful leader to carry forward the pro-poor policies and programmes of Dr. Reddy and his son was best suited to step into his shoes. The choice of Mr. Jaganmohan Reddy to succeed his late father as the Chief Minister was mentioned by over a dozen State Ministers including Danam Nagender, Konda Surekha, Peddireddi Ramachandra Reddy, M. Mukesh Goud, Kanna Lakshminarayana, Anam Ramnarayan Reddy, Galla Aruna, Shatrucharla Vijayarama Raju Pithani Satyanarayana, and D. K. Aruna.

Quite significantly, the president of the Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee, D. Srinivas, refused to react to the demand by a section of the party leaders to name Mr. Jaganmohan Reddy as the Chief Minister. “A decision will be taken at an appropriate time by the high command,” he said.

Threat to split the party

In contrast, Mr. Ramachandra Reddy appeared in a belligerent mood and threatened to split the party if Mr. Jaganmohan Reddy was not made the Congress legislative party (CLP) leader. “If he is not made the CLP leader, we will not hesitate to quit the Congress and take away a major chunk of party legislators,” he said. He went to the extent of claiming that it was the intervention of Mr. Jaganmohan that ensured him a cabinet berth. “When he is not made the CLP leader, why should I continue as a Minister,” he noted.

Mr. Mukesh Goud said Dr. Reddy endeared himself to the backward classes (BCs) by his schemes. “YSR has lot of love for the BCs and Mr. Jaganmohan Reddy is also sympathetic to the well being of the weaker sections and can fulfill their aspirations,” he remarked.

Higher Education Minister D. Sridhar Babu also echoed similar sentiments. Mr. Ramanarayan Reddy said: “The cabinet is of the opinion that we need a youthful leader, who will collectively take the State forward.”

Mr. Lakshminarayana, Ms.Galla Aruna and Mr. Vijayarama Raju said that Mr. Jaganmohan Reddy should be made the Chief Minister as he could provide a strong and efficient leadership. He said the AICC president, Sonia Gandhi, would be informed about their feelings to elevate Mr. Jaganmohan Reddy as the Chief Minister.

According to party sources, young legislators were pitching for Mr. Jaganmohan Reddy. “There are over 100 young legislators, who are die-hard fans of Dr. Reddy. How can we continue our political career. There is every need for us to project Mr. Jaganmohan Reddy as the Chief Minister. We are going to convey our feelings to the high command,” a senior party legislator remarked.