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Interview with Konda Surekha who resigned as AP minister over the Jaganmohan Reddy issue

Last updated on: November 9, 2009 14:27 IST

'If Jagan is not made CM, the Congress will suffer damage'


Andhra Pradesh's Minister for Women and Child Welfare Konda Surekha recently resigned from her post to protest against the Congress leadership's reluctance to appoint Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, the late chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy's son, as his successor.

Surekha, a fire-brand Member of the Legislative Assembly from Warangal, was given a cabinet berth by YSR after he led the Congress party to power for a second consecutive term.

In an interview to Mohammed Siddique, the three-time MLA claims that Jagan alone has the ability and charisma to carry forward his father's 'mission' and 'save' the Congress party in the state.

What made you resign from the cabinet when other pro-Jagan ministers are keeping quiet?

My family and I know Y S Rajasekhara Reddy from 1995 when I was a member of the Mandal Parishad. During the Telugu Desam Party's rule, when I was a MLA, my husband and I faced a lot of harassment.

A false case was registered against my husband and I was also thrown in jail.

Since then, YSR has been helping and supporting us like an elder brother. He treated us like his own family. He made me a legislator for three terms and made me a minister after the last polls.

He also made my husband the district cooperative bank chairman and a Member of the Legislative Council. He had a tremendous attachment with our family. He attended my daughter's marriage though there had been a death in his family.

He would talk to us with affection and respect. We never treated him like an outsider. In his death we have lost our family member and I am yet to come to terms with this great loss.

Secondly, he was such a great leader who made a name for Andhra Pradesh in the first five years of his rule through his services and achievements. But till now, neither the Congress Legislature Party nor the state assembly nor the state council have condoled his death. That was another reason.

The people voted for the Congress for the second term this year because they wanted to see YSR as the chief minister for the second time. The same people are now demanding that Jaganmohan Reddy be made chief minister. I request the high command to think about it.

If YSR's son is not made chief minister, the party will suffer a huge damage in the days to come. It was YSR who took the responsibility of restoring the Congress's past glory and undertook a padyatra in 2003 to bring the Congress back to power, after it had completely disappeared in the state.

He not only brought the Congress back to power but also provided the largest number of Members of Parliament to help the formation of the Congress-led government at the Centre.

In spite of that, if Jagan is not made CM, the Congress will suffer damage and disappear again. I have resigned because of all these reasons. I had taken the same stand the day YSR died.

Image: Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, left, with Konda Surekha, extreme right
Photographs: Snapsindia

'After YSR's death, they started talking against him'

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But other ministers who proclaimed their loyalty to YSR are keeping mum.

I don't think that their loyalty and love for YSR has lessened. Today, of all the elected persons in the state, 99 per cent are his loyalists and all of them want to see Jagan as CM.

Why they are not coming out and saying so, I can't say. They will come out some day and fight for the Congress.

Is your unhappiness over the Jagan issue directed against the party's central leadership?

That is also a reason. Some senior Congress leaders are not conveying whatever is happening in the state to the high command correctly.

In my opinion, some seniors like Hanumantha Rao, K Keshav Rao and others, including some MPs, are now trying to say that YSR had no role in the party's success in the recent elections.

They know very well that the party won because of YSR -- because of his development programmes and to some extent because of the people's confidence in Sonia Gandhi's leadership.

Nobody can accept what they are saying because people voted for YSR and for more development. These seniors had fallen silent after YSR single-handedly brought the Congress to power.

But they (senior leaders) are now carrying words against Jagan to Delhi, alleging that he was responsible for whatever is happening in the state and if he is made CM, the high command will lose control over the party.

After YSR's death, they started talking against him. They are afraid that if Jaganmohan Reddy comes to power, they will lose their political significance and will be pushed back.

They are opposing Jagan for their own benefit. It will damage the party.

We should think about the 2014 assembly election. In between, there will be many other elections, like the ones to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, cooperative banks, local bodies and municipalities.

The Congress should send more MPs from here as well as retain power in the state. To meet all these challenges, we need a leader with charisma to win the confidence and faith of the public.

We don't have any other leader with that kind of charisma except Jagan.

The high command should think of all these aspects. Now only four people are damaging the party. Unfortunately, this message is not getting across to the party high command clearly.

I have resigned to send this message to the high command. I hope my resignation will make the high command think about it and there will be some change.

Image: Konda Surekha, left, with Jaganmohan Reddy, right
Photographs: Snapsindia
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'YSR stopped Rosaiah from retiring'

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But there is no indication of any change in the central leadership's position on Jagan?

The party has to declare its ticket for the Pulivendula constituency (which fell vacant due to YSR's death). We want Jagan to be given the ticket, not any other member of the family.

If he is not given the ticket, then we will think the high command does not want to make him chief minister. But if he is given the ticket, there will be hope for us.

Secondly, they have not convened a Congress Legislature Party meeting, fearing that Jagan loyalists will go against the party. It is not possible because the Congress is a national party with discipline and we will support the leader identified by the party high command. There is no need for such fear.

Was your resignation directed against Chief Minister K Rosaiah?

No. I have never said anything against him personally or administratively.

As far as the administration is concerned, he will run it because he is a senior leader.

When he wanted to retire from politics, YSR stopped him, saying he needed his advice and service.

YSR made Rosaiah a MLC and the state's finance minister. But tomorrow, the administration alone will not be enough for the victory of the party in the election.

We need a public figure and the faith of the people. Jagan's leadership will be good. I would have said the same thing if there was any other leader in Rosaiah's place.

Will Jagan loyalists split the Congress party if he is not made CM?

No. Jagan was brought up by a good leader like YSR. He will abide by the high command's decision. I hope the high command will also accept his leadership. In some states, the Congress could not come to power even after 30 years because of leadership problems.

If the same thing happens here, we will not be able to bring the Congress to this level even after 30 years.

We should save the party before it is damaged so that we can strengthen it further. That will be possible only under Jagan and that is why I am demanding that he should be made CM.

Image: Jaganmohan Reddy with his supporters
Photographs: Snapsindia
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