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Cong miffed, Jagan may face action

delhi Updated: Nov 22, 2010 01:38 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times

Taking serious note of the issue, the Congress has asked its Andhra Pradesh unit for a report on the attack launched against party chief Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by rebel MP YS Jaganmohan Reddy's TV channel and newspaper.

Reddy's Telugu channel, Sakshi, had on Saturday targeted Gandhi and the Prime Minister for what was described as the sorry state of affairs in the party because of the coterie around her.

"The party has sought a report from the state unit on the issue," said general secretary Janardan Dwivedi on Sunday.

"The party will take an appropriate decision in time," said another leader.

The issue reportedly came up at the meeting of the Congress Core Group, which includes Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party president Sonia Gandhi.

Meanwhile, Sakshi made a U-turn on Sunday by snipping off from the repeat telecasts of the derogatory references to Gandhi and Singh.

Even the title of the two-hour special programme was revised to read Congress@125.

While 38-year-old Reddy remained incommunicado, Sakshi CEO Priyadarshini Ram said in Hyderabad that the story was not against either Sonia or Singh but "only a biographical sketch of the leader and a "reflection of media reports" on the party's performance in various states and the recent scams".

He added that Reddy was in no way connected with the content on the TV channel.

Sources indicated that while the programme could not have been aired without Reddy's consent, the party may not like to act in haste as he has not said anything himself.

Already facing an aggressive opposition in Parliament over the 2G spectrum controversy and the Commonwealth Games and Adarsh housing society scams, the Congress may not like to open another front in its own backyard.

Besides, any action against Reddy - who has been provoking the party to act against him - would have to be weighed against the party's need to retain its numerical strength in the Lok Sabha.

"But how can we tolerate such criticism of our leadership?" asked a party leader.

In Andhra Pradesh, the chief minister, his cabinet colleagues and MLAs and MPs from the state condemned the channel.

Congress workers took to the streets across the state, burning effigies of Reddy and copies of Sakshi newspapers.

They staged a dharna and shouted slogans against the first-term MP from Kadapa in front of the Sakshi head office in the posh Banjara Hills area.