Jaganmohan can’t meet Sonia, says won’t quit party

New Delhi, May 31 (IANS) Under fire for defying the party and going ahead with his rally, Congress MP Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy rushed to the capital to meet the Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to explain his position, but had to stay content with meeting senior party leader Ahmed Patel instead. The Kadapa MP said Monday he was not quitting the Congress.

Jaganmohan invited the party leadership’s ire for going ahead with a rally in Andhra Pradesh’s volatile Telangana region May 28, triggering violence between his supporters and opponents as he was taken into preventive custody while on way to Mahbubabad in Warangal district.

Jaganmohan rushed here hoping to meet Sonia Gandhi to convince her that he never intended to harm the party by conducting a rally. He also wanted to convince her that he has full faith in her, party soucrces said.

But he was instructed to meet her political secretary Ahmed Patel, instead, sources said, adding that he is also likely to meet Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee before returning to Andhra Pradesh.

Meanwhile, party insiders said Jaganmohan rushed to Delhi Sunday after receiving a strong signal from the high command that the party was planning to act against him for defying its orders.

Party spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan said the Congress has already taken cognizance of the matter and whatever action needs to done will be done by general secretary in-charge M. Veerappa Moily and the central leadership.

‘The high command is already seized of the matter and whatever needs to be done will be done by the general secretary in-charge of the state.’

Earlier, Jaganmohan said he had organised the rally for his father, the late chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy who was killed in a helicopter crash last year.

‘Whatever I’m doing is for my father. I’m sure the Congress president will understand my point,’ the MP told reporters here.

In an interview to CNN-IBN news channel, he said he was not quitting the party. ‘There is no question of me leaving the Congress. I will remain in the party. I will request the party to allow me to continue the yatra (tour). I don’t think that any disciplinary action will be taken against me. I have not done anything wrong.’

The central leadership of the party had asked him not to conduct the rally in Telangana in view of the tension prevailing there over the separate statehood issue.

Congress leader and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Friday asked Jagan to call off his rally.

Jagan reiterated that the rally was held to console family members of those who committed suicide or died of shock following the death of his father in a helicopter crash.

On the question of Jaganmohan continuing with his yatra, Natarajan said the MP had given a statement that he would seek permission of the leadership.

‘The matter is under the consideration of the leadership,’ she said.

‘The Congress party has been there for more than 100 years and is not going to be weakened by any particular individual,’ she added.

‘Whatever interaction is going on, the developments resulting from that interaction will soon be in the public domain. The party is above and beyond any individual,’ she said.

Asked if any action will be taken against the MP, she said the matter was under the consideration of the leadership. ‘It will be premature for me to comment at this stage,’ she added.