Hyderabad: Even as Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, popularly called YSR, was buried on Friday evening at his Idupulapaya family estate near Pulivendula town in Kadapa district, the ruling Congress party moved to place his son, Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, on the chief minister’s chair in Andhra Pradesh.
Bidding adieu: People gathered in large numbers to pay their respects to the late chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy. Bharath Sai / Mint
YSR, 60, and four other men died on Wednesday when their helicopter crashed in bad weather as they flew to visit drought-hit villages. Jagan Mohan Reddy, the only son of YSR, is a member of Parliament from the Kadapa constituency and a businessman with interests in mining, construction, cement, power generation, and media that include the Sakshi Telugu newspaper and Sakshi Telugu TV channel.
All the ministers of the Andhra Pradesh cabinet passed a resolution in a meeting favouring the candidature of Jagan Mohan Reddy, which will be placed before the Congress party high command in New Delhi.
“The council of ministers in the Andhra Pradesh Cabinet have met at the residence of senior minister Kanna Laxminarayana on Friday morning and unanimously resolved to propose the candidature of Jagan to succeed YSR as chief minister,” said an official of the Congress legislative party. He declined to be named.
“Of the 156 MLAs (members of legislative assembly) of Congress, 149 MLAs including 36 ministers have signed on a memorandum supporting the candidature of Jagan (Mohan Reddy) for the chief minister’s post and to elect him as the Congress legislature party leader,” said senior party leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka.
Christian priests offered a service at a church before YSR was lowered into his grave in Pulivendula, 450km from the state capital.
“He will be remembered for his unwavering commitment to the development of Andhra Pradesh and his administrative acumen,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in Hyderabad.
Vikramarka said party leaders decided on Friday that it was not the appropriate time to submit their memorandum to party president Sonia Gandhi, who flew down to Hyderabad to pay respects to YSR .
The senior party leaders would convey their stand to the high command in a couple of days, he said.
Meanwhile, there were reports of 74 persons dying of heart failure and suicides following the news of YSR’s death. A police officer at the state police central office said on condition of anonymity that though there were such reports from several districts, specific details of the reasons for these deaths are yet unconfirmed. YSR’s son appealed to people not to resort to such extremes.
“Due to such acts (suicides), my father’s soul will not rest in peace... They should not resort to such acts,” he said.
The Congress party, for which Reddy was an important regional leader, is working out a succession plan to elect a new chief minister once the seven-day mourning period is over.
AFP contributed to this story.