Congress today made a concerted effort to assert that the legacy of late YSR rested only with it as top party leaders released his diary on the historic 2003 padayatra and openly criticised the leader's family for not emulating his "greatest quality of discipline".
With YSR Congress of Jaganmohan Reddy making deep inroads and claiming to be the true inheritor of YSR legacy, Congress leaders effused praise on Reddy, calling him a "true loyalist" of the Gandhi family and as one who never crossed the "laxman rekha", but not before taking a dig at YSR's family.
The leaders, included Union Ministers Vayalar Ravi and Ghulam Nabi Azad, did not hide their disappointment in YSR's son rebelling against Sonia Gandhi and the Congress when they articulated more than once that YSR was always loyal to the party though he had differences of opinion.
Gandhi, who is away for medical treatment, had sent a message for the "success of the event."
If Ravi categorically said YSR legacy wrests only with the Congress as it was the party's platform which catapulted him as a mass leader, Azad hit the nail on the head by saying "unlike his family members, YSR was a hardcore Gandhi family loyalist who never crossed laxman rekha."
The book Padayatra My Diary -- Y S Rajasekhara Reddy published by the late leader's friend K V P Ramachandra Rao is a translation of the experiences the late leaders had penned or narrated during the 2003 padayatra that brought the party to power after a decade.
Not just Ravi and Azad, top leaders like Motilal Vora, R K Dhawan, Digvijay Singh, Union Minister Rajiv Shukla and Chiranjeevi also participated in the function which saw over 10 Ministers from Andhra Pradesh in attendance.
"He was dynamic leader. He used to fight within the party... In a democratic party, it is usual that clashes happen between leaders. But whenever there was a crunch, he always accepted the leadership's decision... His greatest quality was he was a disciplined leader," Azad, said in an obvious reference to Jagan not listening to Gandhi's advice.
Calling YSR a "selfless worker" and a person who was a true Congressman in every sense, Ravi said YSR's legacy is with the Congress and nobody can claim right to it and that the legacy will help the Congress in future.
"People look at the Congress party as a party which made YSR a big leader and then the Chief Minister. His legacy will help us in the future," he said.
Azad narrated several incidents to drive home the point that YSR never deviated away from the party and never let his personal discontentment affect the prospects of the party in elections.
"He was a great leader and his greatest quality was that he was disciplined. Whatever he did was in the interest of the party," he said.
The Congress General Secretary also acknowledged that Congress would not have come back to power in Andhra Pradesh if YSR had not cooperated with him.
"He was a staunch Congressman. We need disciplined people like him and who imbibe all qualities," Azad said.
Vora went down the memory lane and narrated his meetings with YSR and the affection he had for the Gandhi family.
Though Rao calls it a "personal effort", the move seems to be more of the Congress' efforts to reassociate itself with YSR and his legacy as it fights hard to restore the party to its old glory in the state.
The diary has interesting quotes about almost all members of the Nehru-Gandhi, the status they enjoyed in the party and of all how still people remembered and revered them.
"By 2014 general elections, Congress will get absolute majority on its own and Rahul Gandhiji will become the Prime Minister of India. Nobody can stop this," Reddy wrote.
Congress Vies for YSR Legacy, Slams Family
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