April 16, 2012 Monday NC
Secular Congress plays cheap tricks and catholic plot to face Jagan
Caste and religion have become the flavour of the season for the 'secular' Congress after self-proclaimed Brahmin, Rahul Gandhi, pulled the genie out of the bottle.
Regardless of the controversy that the Congress general secretary's 'caste credential' generated, party leaders in Andhra Pradesh have proposed to rake up renegade Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy's Roman Catholic background to woo back the Reddy community into its fold.
The Reddys have been the backbone of the Congress in the state, particularly in the community's stronghold of Rayalaseema. However, the community shifted its loyalty to Jaganmohan, who broke ranks with the Congress and floated a new party after the death of his father and former chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy.
'The prominent Reddys, who were with the Congress during YSR's rule, have placed their loyalty in Jaganmohan's camp. We have to win them back for the Congress to retain power in the next elections,' G. Veera Siva Reddy, Congress MLA for Kamalapuram in Kadapa district, said.
To make things work to this effect, the wily Congress leaders from the Rayalaseema region have plotted to sow seeds of communal distrust between the staunchly devout Hindu Reddy community and a Catholic Jaganmohan.
Former minister and Anantapur strongman J.C. Diwakar Reddy said Jaganmohan couldn't belong to the Reddy community because 'he is a devout Christian'. 'He cannot call himself a Reddy because his family strictly follows Catholic traditions, not Hindu customs,' he said.
Jaganmohan's family was baptised five decades ago during the time of his grandfather Y.S. Raja Reddy. 'Since then, the family has given up Hindu traditions.
They celebrate Christian, not Hindu, festivals,' Diwakar Reddy said. Jaganmohan's brother-in-law Anil Kumar, too, embraced Christianity after marrying YSR's daughter Sharmila. He has now become a fulltime Evangelist, forming his own evangelical mission to spread Christianity across the country, the Congress leaders said.
'With this family background, how can Jaganmohan claim that he is a Reddy?' Diwakar Reddy asked.
'The religious muck-slanging, the Congress hoped, could win back the estranged Reddys' favour during the forthcoming bypolls to 18 assembly seats and the Nellore parliamentary seat. Jaganmohan's YSR Congress party said it would give a fitting reply at an appropriate time.
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