‘No Jagan at Telangana talk with Sonia’

Chief Minister K Rosaiah met Congress President Sonia Gandhi, her political secretary Ahmed Patel and in-charge of party affairs in Andhra Pradesh, Veerappa Moily, on Friday and reportedly discussed Jagan Mohan Reddy’s upcoming Odarpu Yatra besides possible candidates for the by-elections in Telangana.

However, he betrayed none of it in public and maintained that Jagan did not figure at the meeting with Sonia Gandhi. The Chief Minister arrived in the national capital this morning along with PCC president D Srinivas. While he was closeted with Sonia Gandhi, Srinivas had an audience with Ahmed Patel. Rosaiah also met senior leaders P Chidambaram and Motilal Vora.

Sources said the party might finalise candidates for the bypolls on Saturday. It is likely to field the same candidates who had contested on the party ticket in 2009 Assembly elections.

Speaking to mediapersons in Delhi, the chief minister, in a guarded response to a volley of queries, merely repeated what he had been saying all along. "There is no need for Jagan to take my permission to undertake Odarpu Yatra. I am not an obstacle to his yatra. In fact, I will provide security to him if he goes ahead with it. When Jagan embarked on Odarpu Yatra in May in Telangana districts, I ensured security to him," he said.

Earlier, in an interview to a television channel in Hyderabad, he pointed out that those who wanted to celebrate the late YS Rajasekhara Reddy’s birth anniversary in the midst of the people were free to go anywhere. Asserting that he had no differences with anyone, he said commencement of the Assembly session on July 7 had nothing to do with Jagan’s yatra, scheduled the next day. Describing the death of YS Rajasekhara Reddy as a big loss to the party, he, however, said the party had the resilience to move on. In the past, several important leaders had died but the Congress had gone from strength to strength, he pointed out.

On whether he would campaign in the by-elections, the chief minister said if the party leadership felt he should tour the districts, he would. Rosaiah also opined that by-elections cannot be interpreted as a referendum either on his performance or on Telangana issue.

During the day, he met Union Finance Minster Pranab Mukherjee and requested him to release an additional Rs 6000 crore under the NCCF. The Chief Minister, during his meeting with Chidambaram, extracted an assurance that Visakhapatnam would be included in the list of Naxal-hit district.

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