The Congress government kept it low key but family and followers turned out in full force Friday to pay rich tributes to the late Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy on his second death anniversary.
His wife Vijayalakshmi, son Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, daughter Sharmila and other family members paid tributes at his grave in Idupulapaya in Kadapa district.
A large number of followers of YSR Congress party chief and Kadapa MP Jaganmohan Reddy also reached the memorial from different parts of the state to pay tribute.
YSR, as the late chief minister was popularly known, was killed in a helicopter crash on this day in 2009. The government helicopter carrying him from Hyderabad to Chittoor district crashed in bad weather in Kurnool district on Sep 2. Four others, including two pilots, also died with him.
YSR's brother and former minister Y.S. Vivekananda Reddy along with his followers launched a 'padyatra' from Pulivendula town to Idupulapaya to protest the attempts of some leaders of ruling Congress party to malign YSR. Vivekananda condemned the statements of some Congress leaders who described his late brother as corrupt.
YSR's second death anniversary is being observed at a time when the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is probing the alleged illegal assets of his son Jaganmohan Reddy. The young leader is also facing a probe by the Enforcement Directorate for alleged money laundering.
Jagan, as the MP is popularly known, allegedly misused power as the son of the chief minister to amass huge wealth from 2004 to 2009. The high court last month ordered a CBI probe on petitions by a state minister and some leaders of Telugu Desam Party, who alleged that companies which received favours from YSR invested big money in Jagan's businesses.
Some Congress legislators loyal to Jagan also paid tributes to YSR at Idupulapaya. As many as 29 legislators, including 26 belonging to the Congress party, submitted their resignations to the assembly speaker on Aug 22 to protest mentioning of YSR's name in the FIR by CBI.
They also alleged that the Congress is targeting Jagan for leaving the party and floating the YSR Congress.
The controversies surrounding YSR and the allegations against him put the Congress government in a dilemma whether to own his legacy or dump it. Unlike last year, the government has kept his death anniversary a low-key affair.
State Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana, YSR's close aide and Rajya Sabha member K.V.P. Ramchandra Rao and some other leaders of the ruling party paid tributes to the late chief minister. They garlanded his statue at Banjara Hills in Hyderabad Friday morning.
Ramchandra Rao said YSR's death was an irreparable loss to the state and the country. "By launching several welfare schemes for the poor and the downtrodden, he had become a god for them," he said.