Congress MP Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, son of the Late Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy, will go ahead with his consolation tour, disregarding a directive to the contrary from party president Sonia Gandhi.
The tour will start in Srikakulam district on July 8, Rajasekhar Reddy’s birth anniversary.
The idea of the tour is to console the families whose members died of shock or committed suicide after YSR’s death in a helicopter crash in September last year.
Jagan Mohan, who unsuccessfully attempted to become chief minister within hours
of his father’s death, has issued “an open letter to the people”.
He said that Sonia Gandhi was not favourably disposed to the tour and instead suggested that he invite the bereaved families and give them financial assistance. He further stated that his mother, Vijayalaxmi, explained to Gandhi that it was not the custom to call families in mourning but rather visit them.
“My mother told her when her husband (YSR) died, you came all the way from Delhi and consoled us but you never asked us to come to Delhi to be consoled there,” the letter said.
The letter asked for people’s forgiveness for taking up the yatra eight months late.
“The yatra will be resumed on the day of my father’s birthday (July 8). Being a son of the late leader who had never gone back on his promise, it is my duty to stick to my word by resuming the yatra from the historical place where my father had concluded his Mahaprasthanam Padayatra (in 2004).”
In New Delhi, the Congress talked tough and asked Jagan Mohan to fall in line.
“All true committed and loyal Congressmen must necessarily observe both the party dharma and laxman rekha (limits) of propriety and party discipline,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said.
“Failure to do so would perforce lead to a chain of consequences, which are best avoidable. We hope and trust that compliance will take the place of defiance. Party discipline, like law, does not discriminate between individuals,” he said.