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Cong to field YSR's wife from Pulivendula

By Mohammed Siddhique
Last updated on: November 25, 2009 22:12 IST
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In a big setback to the chief ministerial ambitions of YS Jaganmohan Reddy, the Congress high command has decided to ignore his claim over a ticket for the by-elections to the Pulivendula Assembly constituency which fell vacant due after his father Y S Rajasekhara Reddy's death.

Instead, Congress president Sonia Gandhi has decided to field YSR's widow and Jagan's mother Vijayalakshmi as Congress candidate in Pulivendula, where by election will be held on December 19.

According to sources, Sonia conveyed the decision to Jaganmohan Reddy when he met her on Wednesday.

Sonia's decision came as a big surprise to YSR family as Vijayalakshmi had refused to enter politics when she met Sonia earlier this month. Like other family members, she too wanted Jaganmohan enter the Assembly from Pulivendula.

Both the family and Jagan's supporters saw Pulivendula by election as crucial for realizing their dream of seeing Jagan as the chief minister.

Sources said when Jagan drew Sonia's attention to his mother's lack of interest in politics, she told him that it would be his responsibility to persuade her and make her change her mind.

Jagan told Sonia, it is learnt, that his mother did not have any experience in politics.

"I too did not have any political experience when I entered politics," sources quoted as Sonia telling Jagan.

Sonia said that entering active politics and serving the people would be a good way of overcoming the personal grief for Vijayalakshmi. "I can understand her grief and sense of loss over the death of her husband," she is said to have told Jagan.

State Congress president D Srinivas welcomed the choice of high command, saying nothing could have been better than this decision.

Pulivendula has been the family pocket borough for last three decades since YSR was elected to the Assembly in 1978.

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Mohammed Siddhique in Hyderabad