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Hectic lobbying on for Andhra chief minister's post
NEW DELHI/HYDERABAD: Hectic lobbying was on for the Andhra Pradesh chief minister's post as the Congress leadership Wednesday continued its consultations with party MPs and senior leaders to find a successor to YS Rajasekhara Reddy who was killed in a helicopter crash last week.

The leadership would take an appropriate decision at an appropriate time, said the late chief minister's close friend and advisor KVP Ramachandra Rao after meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi Wednesday.

A day after meeting Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Ramachandra Rao met party general secretary in-charge of Andhra Pradesh M Veerappa Moily and later called on the prime minister while several MPs met Sonia Gandhi to press their demand that YSR's son YS Jaganmohan Reddy, an MP, be made the chief minister.

Continuing its pressure on the central leadership, the 'pro-Jagan' lobby in the ruling party was holding demonstrations and hunger strikes in parts of the state.

"The prime minister and the high command are well informed. I need not inform them," was all Ramachandra Rao said when asked if he brought to the knowledge of Manmohan Singh and other leaders that a majority of party legislators want Jagan as chief minister.

"I have full confidence that the high command will take an appropriate decision at an appropriate time," said the Rajya Sabha member.

About his discussions on YSR's family with the prime minister, he said: "The prime minister particularly enquired about their state of health and whether the family members, especially YSR's wife, have resumed their normal life after his sudden demise."

Ramachandra Rao also said that the prime minister had advised him to devote more time to the family, shared his feelings and asked him to convey his condolences to the family members and supporters of YSR as also to the party workers in the state.

Gandhi, meanwhile, continued the process of consultations with party MPs and senior leaders. Former central minister Renuka Chowdary and about a dozen Andhra Pradesh MPs called on her Wednesday and held separate meetings.

K Sambasiva Rao and R Sambasiva Rao, who were among the MPs who met Gandhi, told reporters that they conveyed to the party president that Jagan alone could carry forward the vision of YSR. They hoped that the party would take a decision in a couple of days.

YSR and four others with him were killed when a helicopter carrying them from Hyderabad to Chittoor district Sep 2 crashed in the dense Nallamalla forests in Kurnool district.

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