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Congress MLAs shun Jagan's yatra

Ravi Reddy and
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Participate in YSR birth anniversary fete in the districts

Falling in line with the party's diktat, Congress MLAs and senior leaders stayed away from Kadapa MP Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy's yatra to console the families of those who died or committed suicide after Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy's death in September last.

Mr. Jagan drew crowds all through his controversial tour that commenced from Itchapuram town on the Andhra-Orissa border in Srikakulam district on Thursday, but the absence of MLAs and MLCs impacted the turnout. It was at this town that YSR concluded his famous 1,600-km-long padayatra in 2003 that ultimately catapulted the Congress party to power in the following year.

Ignoring the advice of Congress president Sonia Gandhi to bring all the bereaved families to one place and console them, the young MP reached Itchapuram railway station where he was greeted by enthusiastic party workers. There was a minor stampede in which Municipal chairperson L. Swaramani and nine others were injured while an asbestos shed collapsed under the weight of the people atop it.

The ‘Odarpu yatra' (tour to console bereaved families) coincided with YSR's 61 {+s} {+t} birth anniversary which was celebrated across the State by the party and the government. Chief Minister K. Rosaiah led the Congressmen in paying tributes to YSR in the Assembly and later at a government function.

Functions

As many as 86 out of 156 Congress MLAs did not turn up in the Assembly as they were away in the districts participating in functions. Yet, only one, G. Srikanth Reddy, from Kadapa district, joined Mr. Jagan. Although legislators from Srikakulam kept away from the tour, they ensured the presence of second rung leaders to make arrangements.

Chief Minister K. Rosaiah refused to react on the yatra claiming that it was for the party high command to take stock of the situation and that he would not send any report to the leadership. He said his government's main concern was the law and order situation and it would take necessary steps after getting reports from the intelligence wing of the police.

He was, however, said to be upset over the remarks made by APCC general secretary Ambati Rambabu targeting him.

At an informal meeting of MLAs and MLCs, he said he had not obstructed the yatra nor issued any statement that could be construed as stalling it.

A section of APCC office-bearers faxed a complaint to AICC general secretary Veerappa Moily seeking action against Mr. Rambabu, while some MLAs led by A. Krishna Mohan came down heavily on him for his outburst.

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