Hyderabad: Late Andhra Pradesh CM YS Rajashekhara Reddy’s son and Congress MP Jaganmohan Reddy has declared an open war against the party high command.
Saakshi, the 24-hour Telugu news channel owned by the Kadapa MP, launched a frontal attack on Sonia Gandhi as well as the organisation in a one-hour programme on Saturday.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was also targeted along with the “coterie around Sonia” for the “sorry state of affairs in Congress.”
The channel described Sonia’s leadership a failure and PM as her rubber stamp. The special report — telecast on Friday and repeated on Saturday — is believed to be aimed at forcing the leadership to expel him.
Jagan has been angry with the party leadership for ignoring his claim to succeed his father Y S Rajasekhara Reddy as Andhra Pradesh CM. The Congress leaders opposed to Jagan said the story was aimed at targeting Gandhi for not making him the chief minister after his father’s death in a helicopter crash in September last year.
Sources say the Saakshi episode is just a prelude to the launch of a regional party by the Kadapa MP.
Stung by the attack, the Congress High Command today sought a report from the Andhra Pradesh unit on the issue.
“The party has sought a report from the state unit on the issue (telecast of a programme on Sakshi television channel),” AICC Media Department Chairman Janardhan Dwivedi said.
Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmed said a view on the issue would be taken once the report is received from the state unit.
Congress workers protested outside the Saakshi TV office in Hyderabad on Sunday, demanding an apology from the channel.
In a statement, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K Rosaiah said the episode titled “Hastagatham” on the affairs of Congress party was highly distorted with malice and was far from truth.
“It is highly deplorable and reprehensible to comment adversely on her (Gandhi’s) early life which is not resorted to even by the worst opponents,” he said.
Rosaiah recalled that Gandhi was elected Congress president in 1998 when the party was in decline. Under her dynamic leadership, the Congress party won and formed government at the national level twice in 2004 and 2009. She never aspired to become prime minister inspite of galore of opportunities to do so. It was the great sacrifice on her part which no other political leader has so far done in this country, the chief minister said.
Congress party’s state chief D. Srinivas recalled that Jaganmohan Reddy’s father and former chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy never criticised Rajiv Gandhi or Sonia Gandhi.
Congress party’s national secretary P. Sudhakar Reddy said he would lodge a complaint against the channel with the Press Council of India.
Legislator Shankar Rao threatened to file a public interest petition to seek a ban on the channel.