Congress MP YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, who has been critical of the party leadership and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K Rosaiah, Wednesday night tried to justify his decision to undertake his yatra saying it was necessary for consoling the families of those who died following the demise of his father.
"I had made a commitment, at the place where my father died, that I will console the family members of those who died following the death of my father. What is wrong with it? What was my mistake? If their heart stopped beating over the death of Rajasekhara Reddy, are they not Congressmen? Are they not Congress activists," he asked.
Jagan was addressing a gathering at Yeleswaram on the third day of his 'Odarpu yatra' in East Godavari district.
"How is it improper to console those who died for Rajasekhara Reddy? I am here and carrying on with the yatra as per the promise I made.
"After the death of my father, I am able to stand before you with a smile only because of your love and affection. My father has given a huge family that comprises all of you. I am being treated like a brother and son. I thank you very much for your love and affection," he said.
Despite police directives against touring in tribal-inhabited areas in the district where there is a presence of Maoists, Jagan visited such villages too.
Despite the party high command's reservations, Jagan is accompanied in his yatra in the district by MLAs D Chandrasekhar Reddy, R Varaprasad and Raja Ashok Babu.
Meanwhile, Congress MLA from Badvel in Jagan's native Kadapa district B Kamalamma met him on Wednesday.
"Jagan's yatra would strengthen the party to realise Rajasekhara Reddy's dream of making Rahul Gandhi prime minister after the general elections in 2014," she told reporters.
Jagan began the second leg of his yatra from Srikakulam district on July eight. He made critical remarks against the party leadership questioning what is wrong with his yatra.
Despite announcing that his yatra is a personal affair, he alleged that MLAs and MPs are being prevented from joining him.
Jagan also hit out at Rosaiah for reportedly saying that he is in a hurry to become the chief minister.
The high command, however, appeared to be in no hurry to take disciplinary action against him but indicated that his actions are being watched.