YSR's death triggers off Congress succession race in Andhra Pradesh

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Hyderabad, Sep.4 (ANI): Forty-eight hours after the tragic death of former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajsekhara Reddy in a helicopter crash, a fierce succession race has begun notwithstanding the Congress party's decision to put off the selection of a new leader till early next week.

Seeking to cash in on an emotional wave of sympathy, loyalists of the deceased chief minister have reportedly unleashed a strident campaign for making his son, Jaganmohan Reddy, the new chief minister.

"Jagan knew the mind of Rajasekhara Reddy. He alone can finish the unfulfilled agenda of his father," said government chief whip Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka who is marshalling the MLAs in favour of Jagan.

Congress sources in Delhi have thrown up other names as possible successors. They include Union Urban Development Minister S. Jaipal Reddy, Minister of State for Defence M. Pallam Raju, former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N T Rama Rao's daughter and junior Union minister Purandeshwari Devi and acting chief minister M K Rosaiah.

Almost all the state ministers, about 22 MPs and several Congress legislators have pitched for Jaganmohan Reddy through the media even as hundreds of party workers gathered at the secretariat,

CM's camp office, Gandhi Bhavan and various traffic intersections are vocally making a similar demand.

The Jagan group has reportedly met Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily at the Lake View guest house to pursue their demand even as many Congress MLAs faxed individual memorandum to the party headquarters in New Delhi in support of Jaganmohan Reddy as CM.

They also called on Andhra Pradesh Governor N D Tiwari and submitted a list of 122 signatures in support of him being made the chief minister.

According to sources, there was even an attempt to pressure the governor to swear in Jagan as acting CM immediately, but that was abandoned as Rosaiah had already been sworn in by the time the loyalists reached Raj Bhavan.

Jagan, 36, is a first time MP from Kadapa and is merely 100 days old in politics. While Veerappa Moily made it clear that Rosaiah was only an interim CM and that the Congress high command will chose YSR's successor in the next few days. (ANI)

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