Idupulapaya/Hyderabad: – It is two years to this day since former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy died in a tragic helicopter accident but politics in the state continues to revolve around the popular leader.
The ruling Congress, caught in a catch-22 situation after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) named YSR as a co-conspirator in the illegal assets case against his son YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, decided to keep the death anniversary on Friday a low key affair. Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and State Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana led a small group of ruling party leaders who paid homage to the late chief minister at a function organised near his statue in the busy Punjagutta area.
However, at the YSR Memorial in the family estate in Idupulapaya in Kadapa district, it was a different scene with crowds thronging the venue to pay homage on the second death anniversary. YSR’s widow Vijayalakshmi, son Jagan, daughter Sharmila and other family members paid tributes to the leader at his grave in the sprawling family estate. A large number of followers of the president of YSR Congress Party were also present at the memorial.
YSR’s brother and former minister Y S Vivekananda Reddy launched a ‘padayatra’ from Pulivendula town to Idupulapaya along with his supporters in protest against what he termed as attempts by some Congress leaders to malign YSR’s image. Vivekananda condemned the statements of some Congress leaders who described his late brother as corrupt.
YSR’s second death anniversary is being observed at a time when the CBI is probing the illegal assets of Jagan, who is also facing a probe by the Enforcement Directorate for alleged money laundering.
The controversies surrounding YSR and allegations leveled against him have put the Congress government in the state in a dilemma as to whether to own his political legacy or dump it. Added to their woe is the growing popularity of Jagan, particularly in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions, and the resignations submitted by 28 legislators, including 26 from the ruling party, loyal to the young leader.
Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee President Botsa Satyanarayana, taking on YSR Congress leaders for repeatedly claiming that all Congress lawmakers had won elections due to YSR’s image and his portrait, said: “Let us not belittle the contribution of a great leader like YSR. If you say that 155 MLAs won because of his photo, it is also a fact that the same number of party candidates lost because of that. So let us not go into these aspects,” he said.
He said several Congress leaders also won the polls due to the Sonia Gandhi factor and her photo. He added that the Congress had come to power a number of times in the past without mentioning YSR or showing his photo. “We should not forget the facts or distort them,” he said.