Congress to field YSR’s widow in assembly by-poll

Hyderabad, Nov 25 ( The Congress Wednesday decided to field late Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy’s widow Vijayalakshmi for the by-election to Pulivendula assembly that was necessiated by his death. But the family says she herself is not keen.

The by-election is to be held Dec 19. YSR, as he was popularly known, died in a helicopter crash Sep 2.

Ruling party sources here said the central leadership had decided to give the party ticket to Vijayalakshmi. However, the family said she was reluctant to contest and their first choice was Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, the only son of YSR.

The party leadership, which has already turned down the demand from YSR loyalists to make Jagan the chief minister, wants him to continue as the Kadapa MP. Pulivendual also falls in Kadapa district.

Vijayalakshmi’s brother and Kadapa Mayor Ravindernath Reddy told reporters in Kadapa that she was not keen to contest the election.

“It would have been better if the high command had fielded Jagan but as disciplined soldiers of the party we will abide by its decision,” he said.

Ravindernath Reddy also said that if his sister decided not to contest they would again request the leadership to field Jagan.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who met YSR’s widow, his son Jagan and daughter Sharmila in New Delhi early this month, preferred Vijayalakshmi over others.

Sources close to YSR’s family said in the event of Vijayalakshmi deciding not to contest, Sharmila or YSR’s cousin Y.S. Bhaskara Reddy may get the ticket.

Bhaskara Reddy is the son of YSR’s father Y.S. Raja Reddy’s brother.

The notification for the by-poll was issued Wednesday. State’s chief electoral officer I.V. Subba Rao told reporters that the process of filing the nominations began with the notification.

The last date for filing nominations is Dec 2. The papers will be scrutinised Dec 3 and the last date of withdrawal of candidature is Dec 5. Polling will take place Dec 19 and vote count Dec 23.