YSR elected CM designate
The 53-year-old's name was proposed by state unit president after Cong chief made it clear that she wanted Reddy for the top job.
Doctor-turned-politician YS Rajasekhara Reddy was on Wednesday elected leader of Andhra Pradesh's Congress party legislators, paving way for him to become chief minister of the sprawling southern state.
In predictable Congress style, the 53-year-old's name was proposed by state unit president D Srinivas, who until recently was viewed as his rival, after Congress President Sonia Gandhi made it clear that she preferred Reddy for the top job.
Reddy, who led the Congress to a historic win in Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday to end nine years of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) rule, will be sworn in at 1 pm on Friday at the Lal Bahadur Shastri stadium in the heart of the Hyderabad city.
Most of the Congress' 185 newly-elected legislators who attended Wednesday's meeting cheered and clapped wildly as Congress central leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Shivraj Patil announced YSR's name - as Reddy is widely known -- for the chief minister's post.
The meeting, which lasted two-and-a-half hours, began with the legislators passing a resolution authorising the party "high command" - a Congress euphemism for Sonia Gandhi - to pick a new legislature party leader.
Azad and Patil then spent some time trying to reach Gandhi in New Delhi over telephone from an adjoining room.
Eventually, when they made contact with her, they summoned Reddy too.
Later, the three men emerged from the room and Azad announced that Gandhi had opted for Reddy.
At the same time, knowing the differences that have plagued the state unit of the party, Azad appealed for unity.
"It is important for everyone to be united," he said. "It is also important to realise the significance of our election victory."
Later, Srinivas, who has never hidden his differences with YSR, proposed Reddy's name and all the legislators unanimously seconded the choice.
Reddy revived a moribund Congress in Andhra Pradesh by undertaking strenuous walkathons across the state and crushed the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in the battle for the 294-member state assembly.
The Congress won a majority of its own and, along with its allies Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and communists, secured a whopping majority, leaving the TDP with just 47 seats and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with only two seats.
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