Not in race for chief minister’s post, says Jaipal Reddy

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

NEW DELHI/HYDERABAD - Senior Congress leader and Union Minister for Urban Development S. Jaipal Reddy Wednesday said he was not in the race for the Andhra Pradesh chief minister’s post after K. Rosaiah resigned on health grounds.

After meeting Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, he told reporters that their meeting had nothing to do with the political developments in Andhra Pradesh.

“I was never in the race and I am not in the race now,” he said.

Jaipal Reddy met Mukherjee before the latter left for Hyderabad along with three other central leaders of the party to attend the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) emergency meeting as central observers.

Jaipal Reddy, along with state assembly speaker N. Kirankumar Reddy and state minister J. Geeta Reddy, are said to be among the frontrunners for the post of Andhra Pradesh chief minister following the resignation of Rosaiah earlier in the day.

Congress party sources have not ruled out that the legislators may authorise party president Sonia Gandhi to name the new leader in the state. Pranab Mukherjee, A.K. Antony, Veerappa Moily and Ghulam Nabi Azad will be attending the CLP meet as central observers.

Jaipal Reddy, a senior leader with his vast experience as a central minister, hails from Telangana.

State Minister for Information and Public Relations Geeta Reddy also comes from Telangana. The party is likely to choose someone from the region to counter the movement for separate statehood to Telangana.

The Srikrishna Committee, appointed by the centre to look into the demands for and against separate Telangana state, is scheduled to submit its report next month.

Kirankumar Reddy is also being seen as a frontrunner. The assembly speaker comes from Rayalaseema region and was considered a strong loyalist of former chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy.

Union Minister of State for Defence Pallam Raju and former state ministers K. Jana Reddy and M. Sashidhar Reddy, who is also the son of former chief minister M. Chenna Reddy, are among the dark horses. The two legislators also come from Telangana while Raju is from coastal Andhra.

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