Guntur chosen venue

YSR Congress Party president Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy will undertake a two-day fast in support of the farmers in Guntur district from May 15.

He has put off his Odarpu Yatra scheduled from May 14 in Vizianagaram district and is likely to resume it from May 24.

The former MP is said to have strategically chosen Guntur keeping in mind the unrest among the farmers, who are on warpath demanding minimum support price for paddy, cotton, and chillies.

The decision on protest programme was taken at a meeting here on Wednesday which was attended by Congress MP Mekapati Rajamohan Reddy, former Minister Penmatsa Sambasiva Raju, former MP Bhuma Nagi Reddy, and others.

Curiously enough, his fast would commence two days after announcement of results of by-polls to Kadapa Lok Sabha and Pulivendula Assembly constituencies on May 13.

With strong indications that Mr. Jaganmohan Reddy and his mother Vijayamma would fare well, the fast may turn out to be an exercise to test the support he still enjoys among the Congress MLAs, according to YSR Congress Party leaders.

At least two dozen MLAs had been sailing with him since he quit the Lok Sabha seat.

They had marked their attendance at all his earlier protest programmes, be it, the one-day fast on the banks of Krishna in Vijayawada, Jal Deeksha in New Delhi, fast unto death demanding fee reimbursement, and Polavaram yatra.

However, Congress leaders claim that the disqualification proceedings against four Jagan loyalists – Konda Surekha (Parkal), C. Adinarayana Reddy (Jammalamadugu), G. Srikanth Reddy (Rayachoti), and A. Amarnatha Reddy (Rajampet) – has deterred a couple of legislators. Notable among them is K.M. Kamalamma (Badvel), who rejoined the Congress party.

Lackadaisical attitude

Mr. Rajamohan Reddy and Mr. Bhuma Nagi Reddy also released a two-page open letter written by Mr. Jaganmohan Reddy decrying the government's lackadaisical attitude in coming to the aid of farmers.

In the letter, he wanted the government to create a corpus fund with Rs.1,000 crore to procure foodgrains and announce a bonus of Rs.100 a quintal for paddy.