Thursday, September 3, 2009

Who will be the next CM of Andhra Pradesh?

HYDERABAD: It is not merely that a serving chief minister has been killed in office. The death of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy has plunged the Andhra Pradesh administration in a state of chaos and collapse. Reason: YSR ran a tight ship controlled by the chief minister's office. "It was a one-man show and especially in his second term YSR had appointed ministers at entirely his personal choice," a political analyst pointed out.

Finance minister K Rosaiah's name has now been cleared by the Congress high command as the interim chief minister. This choice has fallen on him because of his seniority, but Rosaiah was not the No. 2 to YSR in his second term. YSR's No. 2 was a person he called his "chellema" (little sister). Sabitha Reddy was a housewife a decade ago but the death of her politician husband brought her to politics. YSR thought she was his lucky mascot and appointed her the home minister and his unofficial No. 2.

YSR ran the state along with his close confidant and friend of 30 years K V P Ramachandra Rao. Formally called public adviser, Rao was sent to Rajya Sabha last year to hold the YSR flag high in Delhi. But KVP, as he is called, continued to run the state administration along with the CM. No policy decision or appointment in the police or bureaucracy could take place without KVP's clearance. More importantly KVP was also Reddy's dealmaker. This was an important role because YSR was a major resource mobilizer for the Congress party in Delhi.

"With YSR removed from the scene, the top leaders the Congress will have to really put their heads together about a replacement for him. Its quite clear that Rosaiah, a hard-working man with a reputation for integrity cannot really take the place of YSR," the political analyst said. "He will only be the temporary boss. This is clear."

It is expected that jostling for the chief minister's post will begin the moment YSR's funeral is over. The names of Union minister Jaipal Reddy and Purandeswari (daughter of N T Rama Rao) are doing the rounds. However interests who would like the status quo to continue are already batting strongly for YSR's son, Jaganmohan Reddy. Jagan, as he is called, was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in the last elections from the family turf of Kadapa. Otherwise Jagan runs businesses, a newspaper and a TV channel. The allegations are that Jagan's empire has been built with more than a little support from the government.

With the death of YSR, not only factionalism raise its head in Andhra Pradesh once again, but the Telangana issue that had gone on the backburner will begin to simmer. YSR had completely decimated all other Congress leaders in the state. "The Congress in AP will look like what it was earlier and what it is in every other state. I can predict that," said a Congress leader.

Courtesy: TOI

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