By Syed Akbar
Pulivendula: With the crucial by-elections to the Kadapa Lok Sabha and Pulivendula
Assembly constituencies just four days away, the Congress on Tuesday changed its campaign
tack by projecting its Pulivendula nominee YS Vivekananda Reddy as the “real political
heir” of former chief minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy.
Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy did not mince words when he told large crowds at
Proddatur, Pulivendula and Kadapa that Vivekananda Reddy was the “true inheritor” of
YSR’s political legacy in his family. In all the public meetings the chief minister
addressed, loud speakers blared songs eulogizing Vivekananda Reddy as the “right weapon”
in the “political armoury” of YSR.
The venue of public meeting in Pulivendula was just a couple of kilometres away from the
YSR estate and the chief minister took the opportunity to talk of YSR’s legacy and his
unfulfilled dreams. Incidentally, the venue – Shilparamam – was an unfinished project of
Rajasekhar Reddy, who wanted to turn this sprawling barren piece of land into an
international village of arts and crafts. Bushes and weeds have come up on large portions
of lands, earmarked for industrial and service projects by Rajasekhar Reddy.
As the voters in Pulivendula and other segments of Kadapa Lok Sabha eagerly await
completion of pending projects and launch of projects conceived by YSR, Kiran Kumar Reddy
took the lead by trying to convince them that only Vivekananda Reddy would be able to
take up the challenge and complete the works. By projecting Vivekananda Reddy as YSR’s
legal heir in the latter’s native town, the chief minister wanted to downplay the role of
Jaganmohan Reddy and his YSR Congress.
In tune with the changed campaign, Kiran Kumar Reddy took potshots at Jaganmohan Reddy,
YSR Congress candidate for Kadapa Lok Sabha seat, wondering how could a politician with
just a few months of experience dream of occupying the chief minister’s gaddi.
“Rajasekhar Reddy had to wait for 25 years. The chief minister’s post came my way after I
spent 20 years in politics. Jagan was hardly a few months into politics when Rajasekhar
Reddy had passed away, and yet he set his eyes on the coveted post,” he said.
Kiran Kumar Reddy’s campaign, which came soon after Chiranjeevi’s tour, has created a new
political vigour in the local party cadre. The leaders are enthused after the chief
minister sought to project Vivekananda Reddy as the heir apparent of YSR. “Vivekananda
Reddy will take forward the unaccomplished task of Rajasekhar Reddy and realize the late
leader’s dreams of uplifting the poor and the downtrodden,” Kiran Kumar Reddy said.
The chief minister’s campaign went on without any hitch as scores of police personnel
guarded the venues and the roads from Kadapa to Proddatur and Pulivendula. The police
made elaborate security arrangements in view of attacks on Telugu Desam supremo N
Chandrababu Naidu and Chiranjeevi during their campaign a couple of days ago.
Kiran Kumar Reddy took Jagan by the horn and criticized him in the strongest terms for
claiming the political legacy of YSR. He said Jagan had confided in him that Sonia Gandhi
had offered him a berth in the Union Cabinet. “I advised that he accept the offer,” he
The Congress leadership accepted the fact that Jagan has been giving them a strong fight.
“The fight is between the Congress and Jaganmohan Reddy. The Telugu Desam is nowhere in
the electoral race,” he said.
Earlier, Kiran Kumar Reddy held a closed door meeting with senior leaders and ministers
to finalise the last minute political strategy to win the crucial by-polls.
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