Rosaiah quits, Kiran Kumar Reddy named successor (Night Lead)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

HYDERABAD - Politics in Andhra Pradesh Wednesday took a dramatic turn as Chief Minister K. Rosaiah resigned citing age and work pressure and assembly Speaker N. Kiran Kumar Reddy was named his successor.

“Sonia Gandhi has named Kiran Kumar Reddy as the new leader,” senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee told reporters late Wednesday.

The governor will administer the oath of office to Kiran Kumar Reddy Thursday, the union finance minister added.

The assembly speaker comes from the Rayalaseema region and was considered a strong loyalist of former chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy.

Legislators of the ruling Congress in Andhra Pradesh had earlier Wednesday night unanimously authorised party chief Sonia Gandhi to name Rosaiah’s successor.

Nearly 15 months after he took over, 78-year-old Rosaiah tendered his resignation, saying he was unable to withstand the work pressure because of his age.

“There is no specific reason. Because of my age and because of the situation I am not able to withstand. So I sought permission from the high command for my resignation and at last they have agreed…I am grateful to the high command, particularly Srimati Sonia Gandhi,” Rosaiah told reporters.

Rosaiah denied any political reasons behind his decision. He said he was satisfied with his work during the last 14 months and thanked Gandhi and all party leaders and legislators.

“I am neither a big leader nor I have any group in the party but Sonia Gandhi and others in the Congress Working Committee chose me as chief minister following the tragic death of Rajasekhara Reddy. I accepted the responsibility as a disciplined soldier,” said Rosaiah, who has a political experience of over five decades.

Minutes after making the announcement at a news conference, he drove to Raj Bhavan and submitted his resignation to Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan.

Rosaiah took over as chief minister Sep 3 last year following the death of Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy in a helicopter crash.

The resignation came amid mounting pressure from a section of party leaders for action against YSR’s son Jaganmohan Reddy in the wake of a programme telecast by his Sakshi TV channel criticising Gandhi.

Rosaiah reportedly stepped down to enable the central leadership to choose his successor, if it believed that a new leader could effectively tackle Jagan and also the situation likely to emerge from the report of the Srikrishna Committee on the demand for statehood to Telangana.

The veteran leader quit a day after his visit to New Delhi, where he is believed to have met Gandhi and submitted his resignation letter.

After the death of Y.S.R. Reddy, the leadership had turned down the demand of his loyalists to make Jagan the chief minister and preferred veteran Rosaiah.

Jagan has since defied central leadership on several occasions to take out his “odarpu yatra” to console family members of those who died of shock or committed suicide following his father’s death.

The brief CLP meeting, which lasted 15 minutes, also passed a resolution placing on record the services of Rosaiah as chief minister.

Pranab said no other issue was discussed at the meeting, which was attended by almost all 156 members of assembly of the party. Senior leaders and central ministers A.K. Antony, M. Veerappa Moily and Ghulam Nabi Azad were also present as observers.

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