ADVERTISEMENT

PM, Sonia pay tributes to YSR as final journey begins

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh paying homage at the mortal remains of the former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Y S R Reddy, in Hyderabad
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh paying homage at the mortal remains of the former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Y S R Reddy, in Hyderabad
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and scores of other leaders from across India paid homage today to late Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, who died in a helicopter crash on Wednesday morning, as thousands of people came out on to the streets of Hyderabad in a spontaneous outpouring of grief.

Dr Singh and Ms Gandhi reached Hyderabad this morning and drove straight to Dr Reddy's residence, where the body was lying in state.

The Prime Minister and Ms Gandhi laid wreaths on his body and wrote messages in the condolence book. They also spent some time with members of Dr Reddy's wife Vijayalakshmi, his son and Congress Member of Parliament Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy and his daughter Sharmila.

Congress General Secretary and MP Rahul Gandhi also accompanied Dr Singh and Ms Gandhi to Dr Reddy's residence and paid his respects to the departed leader.

Several Union Ministers, Chief Ministers of states and leaders from across the political spectrum had also turned up to pay tributes to the late Chief Minister.

They included Andhra Pradesh Governor Narain Dutt Tiwari, Defence Minister A K Antony, Home Minister P Chidambaram, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Corporate Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Kerala Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala.

Law and Justice Minister Veerappa Moily and Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Prithviraj Chavan, who have been camping in Hyderabad since Wednesday evening, were also present at Dr Reddy's residence as was Mr K Rosaiah, who was sworn in as Chief Minister yesterday.
Women mourning the death of Y S R Reddy on Thursday in Hyderabad.
Women mourning the death of Y S R Reddy on Thursday in Hyderabad. NetIndian Photo

Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy was on hand to acknowledge the condolences offered by the leaders as well as by the thousands of people who had gathered outside their residence.

Later, Dr Reddy's body was taken in a long and slow procession to the Lal Bahadur Stadium, where it will be kept for a few hours before being flown to his home town of Pulivendula near Kadapah for the funeral.

Among others, former Test cricket captain Mohammed Azharuddin, who hails from Hyderabad and is now a Member of Parliament from Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh, was seen sitting close to Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy, in the convoy accompanying Dr Reddy's body to the stadium.

Huge surging crowds had gathered at the stadium and also lined the 6 km route from Dr Reddy's residence and camp office in Begumpet to the stadium. Thousands of them had taken up positions on flyovers, buildings, trees and hoardings to get a better view of the body as the truck carrying it drove past.

Dr Reddy, 60, a medical doctor-turned-politician, was on his way from Hyderabad to Chittoor when his helicopter, with four others -- his Principal Secretary, his Chief Security Officer, the pilot and the co-pilot--crashed into a densely forested hill about 40 nautical miles east of Kurnool at the edge of the Nallamalla range in turbulent weather on Wednesday.

After the helicopter lost radio contact with Air Traffic Control at 9.13 am that morning, an unprecedented search and rescue operation was launched but the wreckage of the helicopter was located only 24 hours later yesterday morning.

The discovery of the badly charred bodies plunged the state into grief and people across the country reacted in stunned disbelief as Dr Reddy's life came to a tragic end at a time just when he appeared to be reaching new heights in his three-decade-old political career.
Women mourning the death of Y S R Reddy on Thursday in Hyderabad.
Women mourning the death of Y S R Reddy on Thursday in Hyderabad. NetIndian Photo

Dr Reddy, who had led the Congress to an impressive victory in the recent Assembly elections to win a second term in office, was planning to make a surprise visit to villages in Chittoor district on Wednesday as part of a plan to meet people affected by the drought and see for himself how the state government's programmes for the people were actually implemented by officials on the ground.

Those who perished in the accident with him were his Principal Secretary P Subrahmanyam, his Chief Security Officer A S C John Wesley, the pilot Group Capt S K Bhatia and co-pilot Capt M S Reddy. There were no survivors.

The bodies were flown yesterday first to Kurnool, where post-mortem examinations were conducted by doctors in a makeshift tent on a ground. Later, the bodies were put in coffins and carried by an Indian Air Force helicopter to Hyderabad.

The Central Government has ordered a formal Committee of Inquiry into the accident, which will submit its report within two months.

NNN

This story has been updated: Andhra Pradesh bids tearful adieu to YSR

© Copyright 2012 NetIndian. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of NetIndian content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of NetIndian Media Corporation. Write to info[AT]netindian[DOT]in for permission to use content. Read detailed Terms of Use.