Congress set for split in Andhra as Jagan calls it quits

Written by Political Bureau | Hyderabad | Updated: Dec 1 2010, 04:57am hrs
The Congress in Andhra seemed set for a split after Kadapa MP YS Jaganmohan Reddy, 38, resigned from the party and Parliament on Monday. With several loyal MLAs willing to quit and go along with him, it has put a question mark over chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddys government formation on Wednesday. His mother, YS Vijayalakshmi, MLA from Pulivendula, also resigned from the party and Assembly.

MLAs who are not supporting Jagamohan faced protests in their constituencies from party workers and supporters who demanded that they quit. Back-door channels have also been opened to talk to at least 10 pro-YSR MPs.

After 14 months of defying the Congress high command for not being made CM after the death of his father YSR Reddy, Jaganmohan wrote a bitter resignation letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday, accusing the high command of humiliating him and trying to split his family by luring his uncle, YS Vivekananda Reddy, with a ministerial berth.

Officially, Jaganmohan has advised MLAs loyal to him not to resign. But as he left for his hometown of Pulivendula in the evening, several MLAs are expected to join him there in the night or tomorrow morning.

Jaganmohan also assured his supporters that his Odarpu yatra would start again in January. Sources in his camp said he would assess his strength after a new government is formed in the state, and may then decide to set in motion the formation of a new party that would probably be called YSR Congress.

Jaganmohans resignation sparked off celebrations across the state, with his supporters bursting crackers and distributing sweets in anticipation of a new party being launched. The Congress party offices at several places were vadalised. In Guntur, East Godavari and Kadapa, several PCC members quit.

Jaganmohans resignation comes a fortnight after his television channel, Sakshi, launched an attack against Sonia, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi and the Congress. Though the party sought a report on the TV programme and referred the matter to the AICC disciplinary committee, no action was taken against him.

In his letter, Jaganmohan said he was anguished by the efforts made by some Congress leaders to create a rift in the family and wipe out the legacy of his late father. I have realised that unfortunately these forces have the blessings of none other than the party high command itself, he wrote.

The five-page letter added: I have been suffering humiliation in silence during the last 14 months. A malicious campaign was being unleashed against me, my family and lastly against my late father and a great leader of masses Dr Y S Rajasekhara Reddy.

He said he was pained by the treatment meted out to his mother who sought an appointment with Sonia before he launched his Odarpu Yatra but was made to wait for one month. He sought to know why the Congress high command also instructed MLAs, MPs and ministers not to attend the Odarpu Yatra.

Is it fair to lure my uncle Y S Vivekanada Reddy to Delhi, thereby paving way for fissures in my family Media reports revealed that this conspiracy was hatched to rein in Jaganmohan Reddy by provoking his family members against him. Is it not tantamount to a conspiracy against my family and myself Slowly it dawned on me that deliberate attempts were being made to throw me out of the party and malign the image of the late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy. Why all this What is the sin I have committed Why this animosity against my family and myself Why are efforts being made to blur my late fathers image Did I commit anything wrong What is it said Jaganmohan.

He said that even when 150 MLAs supported his candidature for the CMs post, he acted as per Sonias directions. Is it a mistake Honouring your directions, did I not support the candidature of K Rosaiah as chief minister As recently as a few days ago, when you wanted to replace Rosaiah with N Kiran Kumar Reddy, did I not cooperate for the smooth conduct of the CLP meeting. Is it also a mistake What is the sin I have committed Is it Odarpu Yatra I have repeatedly informed you that it was my personal programme and it was my duty and responsibility as the son of the departed leader, he wrote.

Stating that this humiliation and discrimination had forced him to resign, he said: I have no other option before me. My mother Vijaylaxmi and I have decided to resign from the primary membership of the Congress party. My mother Vijayalaxmi is resigning from the MLAs post and I am resigning from the MPs post. The wish was to isolate and send me out. I am leaving alone. But, I would like to clarify one important issue to you. A deliberate campaign was run against me by Congress leaders that I am hatching a conspiracy to throw out the Andhra Pradesh government. I am not of that character. I will never stoop that low.