Jagan’s defiance: Sonia takes charge

NEW DELHI: Congress President Sonia Gandhi has taken full control of the party’s niggle with Kadapa MP Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy.

With a couple of weeks to go for the next round of his Odarpu Yatra in Prakasam district, the party’s central leadership has made it plain and simple to party legislators that they have no business to participate in what is being touted as a personal programme. In all likelihood, the MLAs will obey the diktat.

The capital witnessed hectic activity in the AP camp of the Congress beginning Tuesday night. Apparently under instructions from the high command, all but two Congress MLAs from Prakasam district landed in Delhi on Tuesday. What they did first was to meet up with Jagan and requested him to abandon the yatra or refrain from converting it into a show of strength. They wanted to know why he was not condemning reports that he would float a new party and also pointed out that the ongoing tussle between him and the high command was hurting the party.

Jagan was curt in his reply. He made it clear there was no question of his abandoning the yatra and told the MLAs that they could stay away if they wanted to.

After spending a sleepless night, caught as they are between the high command and Jagan, the MLAs trooped over to Union Minister Panabaka Lakshmi’s residence this morning. There, it was decided that all of them would meet Sonia’s political secretary Ahmed Patel. They did that in the evening and the message from Patel, according to Panabaka Lakshmi, was that MLAs should keep away from the yatra. According to sources, Patel told the MLAs that Sonia was angry over the manner in which Jagan was conducting his yatras and that she did not want party legislators to associate themselves with it. “We will take care of you. Don’t worry about anyone else,” Patel is reported to have told them.

Among the MLAs who met Patel were Daggubati Venkateswara Rao, husband of Union minister Purandeswari, Amanchi Krishna Mohan, Gottipati Ravi Kumar and Ugra Narasimha Reddy. Known loyalists of Jagan — minister Balineni Srinivas Reddy and Darsi MLA B Sivaprasad Reddy — did not go to Delhi.

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