A meeting organised here on Sunday by the Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee to condole the death of Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ended abruptly as Congress activists kept interrupting proceedings almost from the beginning.

As soon as the multi-religious prayers were over and a two-minute silence was observed, Congress workers, mostly youth and women, raised slogans demanding that Kadapa MP Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy be made Chief Minister. Many of them carried posters and banners in support of Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy who was not present at the meeting.

Repeated requests by Congress leaders, including YSR’s brother Vivekananda Reddy and YSR’s close aide K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao, went in vain. Slogan-shouting supporters of Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy booed APCC president D. Srinivas, forcing him to abruptly end the meeting.

Earlier, the youth began raising slogans even as Chief Minister K. Rosaiah, Union Ministers S. Jaipal Reddy, M.M. Pallam Raju and D. Purandeswari were taking their seats on the dais. The situation was brought under control by some of YSR’s close aides who stepped down from the stage to discipline the agitated workers.

But, this was short-lived, as the angry activists resumed their slogans against Mr. Srinivas, who began his speech. With the crowd unrelenting, the APCC president announced that the meeting had concluded and walked out of the venue.

Mr. Ramachandra Rao urged the Congress activists not to harm the prospects of Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy with their actions and appealed to them to maintain restraint if they were really interested in strengthening his hands. “It is nothing short of foolishness if you think you can convince the high command with slogan-shouting and dharnas,” he added.

He told them not to harbour any apprehensions of the Congress leadership’s wisdom as it knew the pulse of the party leaders and cadre. AICC president Sonia Gandhi duly recognised the contribution of Rajasekhara Reddy and would do justice. He was in tears when he recalled his 40-year association with YSR.

However, a majority of the youth remained in the hall raising slogans while a section of them tried to follow Mr. Srinivas.

CPI(M) offices attacked

Khammam Staff Reporter reports:

Tension gripped Khammam as the CPI(M) offices came under attack at different places on Sunday after Congress workers went on the rampage protesting certain remarks made against Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, allegedly by CPI(M) central committee member Thammineni Veerabhadram.

Mr. Veerabhadram, who denied having said anything derogatory, said he was deliberately misquoted by a vernacular daily. But his denial failed to pacify the protesters.

The CPI(M) office at Aswapuram was ransacked and the mandal secretary of the party, Sunnam Subba Rao, was manhandled while furniture and files in the CITU office in the same place were set afire. It resulted in a violent confrontation between the two sides. The police intervened to bring the situation under control. The party office at Manuguru also came under attack. Some vehicles and furniture were damaged.