Sonia Gandhi to pick new Andhra Chief Minister

Sonia Gandhi to pick new Andhra Chief Minister
Hyderabad Sonia Gandhi has been asked to select the new Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh after K Rosaiah resigned earlier today.

Senior party leaders from Delhi including Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Law Minister Veerappa Moily, who is also the General Secretary incharge of Andhra Pradesh, met with Congress MLAs in Hyderabad today. A resolution was passed asking Sonia Gandhi to select the new leader. The front-runner is believed to be the current Speaker of the Assembly, Kirankumar Reddy. 

At a press conference this afternoon, Rosaiah said his age makes it tough for him to continue in office. He also said he has faced problems with coordinating the party. Since Rosaiah was promoted from Finance to Chief Minister, he has faced considerable opposition from within the Congress, much of it provoked by Jagan Mohan Reddy, whose father was the immensely-popular YSR.

In Delhi, Janardhan Dwivedi of the Congress said that Rosaiah offered his resignation yesterday to the party during his trip to Delhi, and that it was accepted today.

Over the last few days, the Congress in Andhra Pradesh has faced a public and massive attack from one of its own against the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi. 

On Friday, Sakshi TV, owned by Jagan Mohan, broadcast a program that was scathing in its assessment of both leaders. The channel's management said Jagan Mohan was not aware of the show's contents.  Re-runs of the same show did not carry the controversial parts.

After his father died in a helicopter crash last year, Jagan has rebelled openly against the party's decision to appoint Rosaiah as YSR's successor. He conducted his Odarpu Yatra - a tour of the state and a show of strength, - in open defiance of the party which had ordered him to cut short the road show.

Despite the Sakshi TV attack, the Congress has decided that it will not penalize Jagan for now - the party believes it needs to focus on  its battle with the Opposition in parliament over the 2G spectrum scam. This winter session has seen non-stop adjournment of both houses  over the 2G issue.

The next chief minister of Andhra Pradesh will take over as the state waits with considerable tension for a report on whether it should be bifurcated. Telangana has been campaigning for statehood - the Union government agreed to that last December after different political parties expressed their support for a Telangana state.

However, they changed their minds after leaders from non-Telangana regions expressed their discontent with the bifurcation. The Centre then set up the Srikrishna Commission to investigate whether there's consensus within the public and political parties on the issue. The Commission is expected to share its report in December.

Those in Telangana have organized several protests, some of which ended in violence, to insist that the government agree to a new state.
Story First Published: November 24, 2010 12:56 IST

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