Sonia meets AP Cong leaders, summons KVP

Sonia gandhi

Congress president Sonia Gandhi has begun consultations with senior party leaders from Andhra Pradesh on the contentious issue of succession following the demise of Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy last week. She met former PCC chief K Keshava Rao and MP Vundavalli Arun Kumar on Monday.

While Kumar is in the forefront of the campaign to project YSR's son Jaganmohan Reddy as the next CM, Rao is in favour of leaving the issue to the discretion of the high command.

To ensure that there is no trouble from his supporters at the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting likely to be convened after Thursday when the mourning period ends the party high command has summoned Rajya Sabha MP K V P Ramchandra Rao to Delhi.

Rao, the right hand man of the late leader, was believed to be instrumental in fuelling the campaign by a section of party legislators for Jagan's installation as CM. Jagan, however, is learnt to be out of the race for the coveted post.

The party high command is also likely to send some senior leaders as observers to Hyderabad to ensure smooth proceedings at the CLP meeting.

Caretaker Chief Minister K Rosaiah, a senior leader, was tipped to continue in the saddle even as Congress sources here maintained that the party would try to accommodate Jagan's concerns while deciding about the next chief minister.

On the issue of succession, AICC spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi, meanwhile, told reporters, "We have established procedures and system. We are in the mourning period now. There is no question of any activity. Let me assure you that everything will proceed as per established customs, practice and rules."

He said the change of leadership in the state (the caretaker CM) was also an open issue and all this would be settled at the CLP meeting.

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