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The lamb trying to become a lion?

Vivekananda Reddy

Jagan Mohan is a reckless man not deterred easily. Still, the 38-year-old scion of the YSR family is rattled these days. The cause of anxiety is Vivekananda Reddy, his uncle. YSR"s younger brother chose to remain in the Congress during the recent rebellion by his nephew against Sonia Gandhi. He was promptly rewarded with a ministerial berth in the Kiran Reddy government. Vivekananda now threatens to take away a part of YSR"s political inheritance from Jagan.

In spite of frantic efforts made by Jagan Mohan, his mother, and members of the extended family, Vivekananda has not relented. "Sonia is like Mother Teresa, " he told nephew Jagan Mohan who held him by the collar when he decided to stick to the Congress.
Younger than YSR by just a year, Vivekananda was always the less enterprising one, forever living in awe of his elder brother. "He never questioned him, always followed his orders, " says a family source. When YSR went to the Lok Sabha from Cuddapah in 1989, he left the family assembly constituency of Pulivendula in the care of Vivekananda. In 1999, YSR decided to come back to state politics and the two swapped places. There was family peace till 2004, when Jagan Mohan suddenly decided that he deserved to go to the Lok Sabha from Cuddapah as heir to YSR. The Congress high command, however, refused to entertain Jagan"s candidature.

Jagan Mohan, joined by his sister Sharmila began to put pressure on Vivekananda to quit his Lok Sabha seat. Unable to bear the pressure, he went to Sonia Gandhi and said he wanted out. The Congress chief would have none of it.

In the run up to the 2009 elections, pressure was once again put on Vivekananda to withdraw his candidature. Youth Congress leaders put up larger-than-life cut-outs of Jagan Mohan in Cuddapah and at a preelection public meeting YSR said it seemed like the public wanted his son to contest from Cuddapah. Vivekananda withdrew from the fight and was accommodated in the legislative council. Vivekananda"s immediate family, of course, was seething. Things turned around after YSR"s sudden death and Jagan Mohan"s bid for the chief minister"s post much to the chagrin of Sonia Gandhi.

It was then that the party decided to prop up Vivekananda, who reciprocated by announcing total loyalty to the Congress. Aware that it would be difficult for Vivekananda alone to face up to the might of Jagan Mohan, AICC member Ghulam Nabi Azad was given the job of mentoring him. Though sources say he is still scared of Jagan Mohan, when Vivekananda recently went to his nephew"s house to say hello and was heckled instead, he turned around, twirled his moustache and declared, "I am also from Cuddapah. "

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