As the mourning period for the former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, drew to a close on Thursday, the Congress core group met here and is understood to have taken stock of the developments in the State.
Though there was no official word on what transpired at the meeting, the core group met after three days of frenetic lobbying by YSR loyalists and his detractors, giving credence to speculation of the Andhra Pradesh issue being on the agenda. And, from all indications, the Congress will not take a decision in a hurry.
Immediately after the meeting, Rajya Sabha MP and Rajasekhara Reddy's adviser K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao met Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel - a member of the core group - and general secretary in-charge of the State M. Veerappa Moily separately.
About his meeting with Mr. Patel, all that Mr. Rao had to say was: "I came to inform Mr. Patel that I am leaving for Hyderabad to attend the all-party condolence meeting being organised by the State government on Friday evening." He has been in the capital since Monday making out a case for anointing Rajasekhara Reddy's son and Kadapa MP Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy as Chief Minister.
Besides Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Ms. Gandhi, and core group members, Mr. Rao met a host of senior Congress leaders, including all those who served as general secretary in-charge of Andhra Pradesh over the past two decades.
Aware that the lobbying for Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy even before Rajasekhara Reddy was buried and threats to split the party have upset the Congress leadership, Mr. Rao's refrain has been that these were spontaneous outpourings and not orchestrated.
He has also presented copies of a survey conducted by a television channel showing 78 per cent support among the people for Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy. Chief Minister K. Rosaiah came second with 13 per cent votes.
Another document that is being circulated among Congress leaders is the list of deaths/suicides in the State since Rajasekhara Reddy's death was confirmed.
Further, Mr. Rao is understood to have professed commitment to the Congress leadership and maintained that the decision of the high command would be acceptable to those keen on seeing Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy succeed his father.
Meanwhile, the Congress central leadership is understood to have communicated its displeasure to Mr. Rao about ministers staying away from work. The joint statement signed by all ministers on Thursday morning clarifying that they were cooperating with the Chief Minister is said to have been issued at the high command's prodding.
Repeated signs of displeasure from the high command over the lobbying, however, have not disheartened YSR loyalists.
A dozen MPs loyal to Rajasekhara Reddy met Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee under the leadership of Union Minister of State for Steel A. Sai Prathap.
Later, they split into two groups to meet Digvijay Singh and Mr. Moily separately, even as their critics said the developments ought to teach the Congress leadership that no Chief Minister should be allowed as free a hand as YSR.