The standoff between Congress and Y S Jaganmohan Reddy took a new turn today after the MP claimed that the party has given him the go-ahead to continue with his 'Odarpu' yatra, but this was strongly refuted by Law Minister Veerappa Moily.
After meeting Moily, also the in-charge of party affairs in Andhra Pradesh, Jaganmohan claimed the Congress leader had given him the green signal to continue with the yatra and "this tour of mine was widely appreciated by him".
But, hours later, Moily told reporters: "I never told him to go-ahead nor did he ask my permission."
"There is no question of giving permission when he has not discussed the issue with me. Our advice is better he desists from going ahead with the yatra," he said.
Jaganmohan said he had told Moily that the yatra was apolitical and aimed at visiting the families of those who had died of shock or had allegedly committed suicide after hearing the news of his father Y S Rajasekhara Reddy's death in a helicopter crash on September 2, 2009.
However, Moily said: "When he goes to some place, there will be meetings and rally. There may be some problems. Already some problems have been created. It is good for him not to continue... we also have sentiments."
"In the best interests of the party and the state government he need not go anywhere now," he said.
Jaganmohan had been in the eye of storm ever since he defied the party's directive and went ahead with his tour of Telangana region on Friday last.
However, he had to abandon the yatra after violence erupted in Warangal district, the hot bed of the Telangana agitation, in protest against his visit.
Moily said: "I asked him not to go to Telangana region till the by-polls are over there. But about other areas he never asked me nor I gave my persmission."
The Law Minister said he also contacted Jaganmohan after he spoke to the media and told him not to go ahead with the yatra.
A section of the Congress feels that Jaganmohan should be allowed to undertake the yatra and any confrontation with him ahead of the biennial Rajya Sabha polls would adversely impact the party.
Jaganmohan is said to have the support of nearly 40 of the 156 Congress MLAs in Andhra Pradesh.
Jaganmohan had yesterday met Ahmed Patel, Congress President's political adviser, and explained the cirumstances under which he undertook the tour. Jaganmohan, who wanted to meet Sonia Gandhi and Pranab Mukherjee, was told by the party to meet Moily.
After meeting Moily, Jaganmohan left for Hyderabad.
Jaganmohan had claimed: "He (Moily) has given a go-ahead. He told me to go and continue with whatever I am doing."
"In fact, this tour of mine was widely appreciated by him and he had given a very clear indication to go ahead and do what I am supposed to be doing," he told reporters after the 20-minute meeting with Moily.
The Congress MP also said Moily, who is also the in-charge of party affairs in Andhra Pradesh, greeted him with a smile and blessed him. "When I went inside, he (Moily) greeted me with a smile and then he blessed me (for continuing with the yatra)," he said in Telugu.
Asked whether the misunderstanding with the high command has been sorted out, he said everything has been cleared and sorted out.
"If at all you call it a misunderstanding, things are now under....everything is clear and sorted out," he said.
Asked whether he would meet Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, whom he could not meet yesterday, Jaganmohan said: "As far as the meeting with Pranab Mukherjee is concerned, Moily told me that he will brief him."
Jaganmohan had defied the party high command's directive and gone ahead with his tour of the sensitive Telangana region on Friday last.
However, he was forced to abandon the yatra after violence erupted in Mahaboobabad town in Warangal district, the hotbed of the separate state agitation.
He said he will now carry on with the tour from June 8 in Srikakulam in coastal Andhra Pradesh from June 8 to meet the families of those who died after his father's death in a helicopter crash.
Asked whether the "misunderstanding" with the high command has been sorted out, Reddy said, "If at all you call it a misunderstanding....everything is clear and sorted out."