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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

Congress pits YSR brother against his widow in Andhra bypolls

IANS  Hyderabad, April 01, 2011
First Published: 12:04 IST(1/4/2011) | Last Updated: 12:39 IST(1/4/2011)

The ensuing by-elections from the Kadapa Lok Sabha and the Pulivendula assembly constituencies in Andhra Pradesh may well turn into a war within the family of the late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy with the Congress deciding to field his brother Y S Vivekananda Reddy against the late chief minister's widow.

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While Vivekananda, a minister in the state cabinet, will take on his sister-in-law Vijayamma in Pulivendula for the assembly seat, he is also trying to pit his son-in-law against the late YSR's son and former MP Y S Jaganmohan Reddy.

An interesting tussle is on the cards with both the Congress and the YSR Congress party, floated last month by Jaganmohan Reddy, or Jagan as he is popularly called, staking claim to the legacy of the late leader.

The May 8 by-elections will be the first major test of strength for Jagan, who along with his mother quit the Congress in November last year. They also resigned as MP and state legislator, causing the by-elections.

Jagan made his debut in electoral politics in April 2009 and was elected to the Lok Sabha from Kadapa with a massive majority. However, five months later the death of his father, who was the chief minister and a mass leader, in a helicopter crash altered the political scene in the state.

Vijayamma was elected unopposed to the state assembly in December 2009 from Pulivednula, which her husband represented.

Ignored for the chief minister's post, Jagan parted ways with the Congress when his rival Kiran Kumar Reddy was named successor to K Rosaiah, who had taken over after YSR's death.

Accusing the Congress leadership of creating rift in the family by wooing his uncle Vivekananda with a ministerial berth, Jagan along with his mother quit the party.

Vivekananda, who joined the state cabinet in December 2010, has to get elected to either house of the state legislature in six months. His term as member of legislative council ended March 30.

He has not only agreed to contest against his sister-in-law but also wants the Congress to field his son-in-law N Rajasekhara Reddy against Jagan, who will seek re-election from the Kadapa Lok Sabha constituency.

After the YSR Congress Party made an impressive debut by bagging three of nine legislative council seats from local bodies constituencies last month, the by-elections will be the first major test of strength for Jagan's party.

Claiming to be the true inheritor of his father's legacy, he is targeting the Congress for diluting the welfare schemes launched by his father.

The Congress on the other hand is also staking claim to YSR's political legacy by promising to continue his schemes. During the campaign, it will underline the fact that YSR died a Congress leader and unlike his son, he never quit the party.

YSR brought the Congress back to power in the state in 2004 and under his leadership the party retained power in 2009 polls.

The main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) will try to target the corruption during the YSR rule, and thus train guns on both the Congress and Jagan.

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