Jagan begins yatra in search of YSR mantle

Written by Political Bureau | Hyderabad | Updated: Jul 9 2010, 07:27am hrs
Setting out on a collision course with the Congress high command, Kadapa MP YS Jaganmohan Reddy attracted huge crowds as he charted his own political path on Thursday by starting on his controversial odarpu yatra from Ichchapuram in Srikakulam district.

Defying the reservations expressed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Jaganmohan made a statement of the support he enjoys as supporters and fans turned up to encourage him on his yatra, beating drums and dancing to celebrate his arrival.

His personal tour of the district turned political as soon as he alighted at Ichchapuram railway station at 9:45 am. Party workers waving Congress flags, NSUI cadre, local Congress leaders, fans and supporters mobbed him during a rousing reception. We are with you, start a new party. YSR Congress zindabad, they chanted.

With slogans and chants of Jai YSR, Jai Jagan, YSR Congress, in the air, he proceeded to Vijay Vatika a memorial built at the spot where his late father YSR had ended his 68-day 1,500-km long padayatra in 2003 which brought the Congress back to power in the state a few months later.

As his convoy of over 50 vehicles weaved its way through the tiny town, people lined up on both sides of the streets and stood on rooftops and welcomed Jaganmohan with garlands and showered flower petals on him. After unveiling a statute of his late father at the Vijay Vatika, he started his three-day odarpu yatra to console the families of those who allegedly died of shock or committed suicide after hearing of YS Rs demise in September last year.

As Jaganmohans yatra rolled, it made no difference that the nine Congress MLAs from Srikakulam district, who are attending the Assembly in Hyderabad, were not present. Congress MP Killi Krupa Rani was also absent, so were senior Congress leaders of the district. Hundreds of Congress workers and supporters of Jaganmohan made arrangements for his tour and organised themselves to accompany him through his tour of the district. Travelling in an open jeep, at times in a SUV, Jaganmohan briefly addressed the crowds whereever he was forced to stop. I am here because it is my duty to console the families of those who died of shock after my fathers death. Seeing so many of you here, I know I am not alone. I have such a huge family, he said outside the Vijaya Vatika.

Meanwhile in Hyderabad, the state government which organised several programmes to mark YSRs 61st birth anniversary, issued a notification renaming his native district Kadapa as YSR District. Chief minister K Rosaiah unveiled a portrait of YSR in the Assembly building today morning. People will never forget YSR for the welfare schemes he initiated. He was a great leader of the masses, he said.