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Jagan loses friends in Cong,high command seeks report

Sakshi TV: With Telangana report only a month away,party wary of political instability

Written by D K Singh | New Delhi/hyderabad |
November 22, 2010 4:31:07 am

The Congress on Sunday sought to send out a stern message to Kadapa MP Jaganmohan Reddy seeking reports from Chief Minister K Rosaiah and PCC chief D Srinivas about Jagan-owned Sakshi television channel’s attack on Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a programme aired on the weekend.

Sources said the Congress president had taken a “serious note” of the Sakshi programme and a decision on the Kadapa MP’s fate would be taken after the Chief Minister and the PCC chief submitted their reports. However,the moot point was whether the Congress high command would like to act against Jagan barely a month before the Srikrishna Committee was expected to submit its report on Telangana,added sources.

Even though the committee was unlikely to give any clear recommendation opposing or favouring the formation of a separate state of Telangana,its report was set to re-ignite passions across the state and the party leadership might not be inclined to compound the problem by creating any political instability by acting against Jagan,said party sources. But a section of Congress leaders believe that Jagan “crossed the line” by directly attacking the Congress leadership and it might force the party leadership’s hand.

“I have asked the CM and the PCC chief to submit their reports to me. We have taken a very serious note of it. After all,he is the managing director of the channel,” Union Law Minister and AICC in charge of Andhra Pradesh M Veerappa Moily told The Indian Express.

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Sakshi,the 24-hour Telugu news channel owned by the Kadapa MP,had launched a frontal attack on Sonia and Manmohan Singh in an hour-long programme on Friday night. Congress leaders in New Delhi were of the view that Jagan’s silence over the controversial TV channel programme lent credence to widely held view that it was a “deliberate and well-calculated” move to force a decision by the party leadership on his fate. Senior Congress leader from Andhra Pradesh K Keshava Rao said Jagan wanted to be a “martyr” by forcing the high command to take action against him. For the past fortnight,Jagan has been staying in Bangalore and said to be recuperating from a shoulder injury.

“Jagan along with his mother had met the Congress president to appeal to her to allow his Odarpu yatra,but they got little sympathy. It is true that his ouster from the party may not threaten the Rosaiah government as most of the legislators who were with him once are no longer ready to come out with him against the high command’s wish. But Jagan feels he and his family are getting a raw deal in the party and sees no gains in maintaining the status quo,” said a close aide of the Kadapa MP.

Meanwhile,outrage over the Sakshi story has united the various factions within the state Congress against Jagan who seems to have now lost the patronageof several party men loyal to his father,the late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy. Congress workers with a soft corner for Jagan burnt copies of Sakshi newspaper and raised slogans outside Sakshi offices across the state on Sunday.

APCC president D Srinivas said a translated transcript of the story that was telecast on Sakshi TV was being sent by the PCC to Delhi.

In Hyderabad,Health Minister Danam Nagender and Information Technology Minister Komatireddy Venkat Reddy,loyalists of the late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy,held a dharna in front of the former chief minister’s statue at Panjagutta Circle.

Chief Minister K Rosaiah said the manner in which the Sakshi TV story was built up indicated that it was intended to be malicious.

Meanwhile,PTI reported on Sunday that the channel in a U-turn re-telecast the programme deleting adverse references to Sonia and claiming it had not targeted her. The report said though Sakshi TV announced that the 8 am show scheduled on Sunday would be a “re-telecast” of the episode aired on Friday night (and repeated on Saturday morning),viewers got to see a version that was totally different from the earlier one.

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