M A I N   N E W S

Farewell, ‘King of Kadapa’
n YSR laid to rest, normal life across AP hit
n Cops have a tough time controlling the crowds
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, September 4
A sea of humanity poured in today to bid tearful farewell to the charismatic former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, YS Rajasekhara Reddy, who died in a helicopter crash over Nallamala forest area in Kurnool district on Wednesday.

Amidst emotional scenes, the mortal remains of YSR were laid to rest at Idupulapaya, his family estate near Pulivendula in Kadapa district. As chants of ‘YSR amar rahe’, rant the air, his coffin was lowered into the grave amidst prayers by Christian preachers. His wife Vijayalakshmi, son and MP YS Jaganmohan Reddy, daughter Sharmila and other members of his family bid a tearful adieu to the departed leader.

The coffin, draped in Tricolor, was brought to the 100-acre Idupulapaya estate, 40 km from Kadapa, in an IAF helicopter, while his family members arrived a little earlier in another helicopter. Over one lakh people thronged the place and surged forward to have a last glimpse of their leader.

A flower-bedecked military vehicle carried the coffin to the burial site. As the coffin was lowered to the ground, several mourners broke down. The military offered gun salute as a mark of respect to the departed leader.

Earlier in the morning, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi and several Union ministers and national leaders flew in here and placed wreaths on the body of YSR, kept at his camp office.

Union Ministers P Chidambaram, AK Antony, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Veerappa Moily, Prithviraj Chouhan and Salman Khursheed and Chief Ministers Sheila Dixit, Ashok Gehlot and Bhupinder Singh Hooda, former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, senior BJP leader LK Advani, CPM leader Sitaram Yechury, DMK MP Kanimozhi, Haryana Congress chief Phool Chand Mullana and Rohtak MP Deepender Hooda were among others who offered their tributes to YSR.

Soon after her arrival here, Sonia Gandhi went up to YSR’s wife Vijayalakshmi and other family members and consoled them. She spent about 30 minutes with the family members and later wrote down her thoughts in the condolence book. Sonia said YSR’s sudden demise was a great loss to the country. She could not control her emotions while consoling YSR's family members.

“In the sad and most untimely demise of Rajasekhara Reddy, our country has lost an outstanding leader and the people of Andhra Pradesh have lost an ideal Chief Minister, who was personally concerned about the welfare of the poor,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrote in the condolence book.

Later, YSR’s body was taken in a flower-bedecked Army carriage to Gandhi Bhavan, the state Congress headquarters, and later to Lal Bahadur Stadium and kept in state to enable people to pay homage.

Thousands of party workers, who came in from different parts of the state, paid homage to their departed leader throughout the night. Hundreds of vehicles followed the flower-bedecked truck in which the body was kept.

Jaganmohan Reddy, who accompanied the body on the vehicle, appealed to the people maintain calm. The police had a tough time in controlling the milling crowds at LB Stadium. The surging crowd of mourners broke the barricades at several points to rush towards the pedestal where the body was kept.

Normal life across the state came to a crippling halt as the state mourned YSR’s death. Schools, colleges, offices, shops and business establishments remained closed as a mark of respect to the leader.

While the roads around the former Chief Minister’s camp office in Begumpet and LB Stadium were teeming with mourners, the streets in the rest of the state capital wore a deserted look.



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