Pradesh): Andhra Pradesh's late chief minister Y.S.
Rajasekhara Reddy was buried here in his native Kadapa district
Friday amid emotional scenes even as most leaders of the Congress
party in the state demanded that his son Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy be
named his successor.
chief minister's wife Vijayalakshmi, son Jaganmohan, daughter
Sharmila and other members of the family broke down and wept when
his body was lowered in the grave watched by Christian religious
leaders. Many of the thousands watching the scenes had tears in
Jaganmohan was inconsolable as the mortal remains of YSR were
brought to the family estate for burial. He had controlled his
emotions since learning Thursday morning that his father and four
others had perished when their Bell 430 chopper had crashed in a
dense forest and exploded in Kurnool district Wednesday.
36-year-old Jaganmohan and his mother hugged one another, tears
rolling down their eyes. Some state ministers also broke down while
trying to console the family.
Cutting across political loyalties, millions of people across Andhra
Pradesh viewed the burial on television as the state remained shut
for a second day. Telugu media reported that 122 people had either
committed suicide or died of shock, unable to bear the loss of the
police were unable to confirm the deaths. But Jaganmohan urged the
people of the state to remain "patient and brave" amid the tragedy
and not to kill themselves over his father's death.
body was brought to the 100-acre Idupulapaya Estate, 40 km from this
town. YSR, who first became chief minister in May 2004, was flying
from Hyderabad to Chittoor district when his helicopter crashed. His
charred body was found Thursday, over 24 hours after the helicopter
burial followed mass frenzy earlier in Hyderabad, where the body was
kept for public viewing at the L.B. Stadium and where national
leaders including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president
Sonia Gandhi and Bharatiya Janata Party's L.K. Advani paid their
message, Gandhi described the late YSR as "a dynamic, visionary,
progressive leader who throughout his career strived for the
upliftment of the poor, of the farmers... For us in the Congress,
his passing is a huge loss."
Gandhi's immediate task would be to find a successor to the hugely
popular YSR although Finance Minister K. Rosaiah has been appointed
to the post temporarily to meet a constitutional requirement.
Nearly half the 34-member cabinet, 20 MPs and 122 out of 155
Congress legislators have declared they want Jaganmohan as the new
chief minister, saying this would be best tribute to YSR.
least one Congress leader threated to split the party if the demand
was not accepted.
Friday's burial marked the end of the Lion of Kadapa who went on to
become one of the most powerful politicians in the Congress after
steering it to a sweeping historic second win in assembly elections
popularity was evident in the outpouring of grief across Andhra
Pradesh as the funeral cortege snaked its way through surging crowds
from his home in Hyderabad to the L.B. Stadium.
Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and her son and Congress general
secretary Rahul Gandhi laid wreaths on the body placed in his
residence and camp office in Begumpet.
the camp office, the body was taken to the Congress headquarters
Gandhi Bhavan to enable party leaders to pay respect and from there
to the stadium, six kilometres away, where he had been sworn in only
four months ago.
the way were teeming mourners, lined up along the road, on rooftops
and packed into the stadium to bid adieu to a politician who
introduced several policies to benefit the poor.
Hundreds of vehicles followed the flower-bedecked truck in which the
body, draped in the national flag, was kept.
the stadium, a virtual stampede broke out, forcing the family to
urge the authorities to fly the body to Kadapa one hour ahead of