Hyderabad: Propped up by family loyalists to succeed his father Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy as the next chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy broke his silence on Sunday, saying it was up to the Congress party’s central command to decide on the state leadership.
Rajasekhara Reddy was killed in a helicopter crash on Wednesday, triggering a strident campaign for his son, a businessman and member of Parliament, to become the next chief minister.
Breaking silence: Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy. PTI
Stepping up their campaign in favour of Reddy, a dozen members of the 34-member council of ministers in the state said they would not be sworn in as ministers until the party confirmed him as the next chief minister.
The fresh oath-taking has been necessitated by constitutional experts saying that a cabinet ceased to exist if a chief minister either resigned or died.
After days of rallies and signature campaigns in his favour, Reddy travelled to Hyderabad on Sunday afternoon from Idupulapaya, the family estate where his father was laid to rest on Friday, and appealed to his supporters for calm.
“This is not the time or occasion” for demonstrations and signature campaigns, he said. “Every Congress worker knows that it is the tradition of our party to leave the decision of leadership to the high command and our beloved leader (Congress president) Smt Sonia Gandhiji.”
Gandhi respected the public perception and feelings of thousands of party workers, he added. “She knows too well what is good for all of us and what is good for our state.”
The Congress sent senior leader Digvijay Singh to Hyderabad to defuse the tension. The party has made it clear that it would not summon a meeting of legislators in the state to discuss the succession until the seven-day mourning period is over.
While several leaders have met Singh to push Reddy’s candidature, a group of dissidents has opposed giving him the top role.
On Saturday, 33 of 56 members of the state’s legislative council passed a resolution supporting Reddy’s candidature, and some 130 members of the legislative assembly staged a rally backing him.