Jagan walks out of jail to rousing reception

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Hyderabad, September 24:  YSR Congress president Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy on Tuesday stepped out of Chanchalguda jail 16 months after his arrest in a disproportionate assets case to lusty cheers and rose petal showers by his jubilant supporters.

A designated CBI court had yesterday granted bail to the 40-year-old leader who is in jail since his arrest on May 27, 2012.

Thousands of supporters, chanting slogans hailing their leader, gathered outside the Chanchalguda jail since morning for his release which is widely expected to lend added political punch to the popular movement against the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.

The milling crowd broke into an impromptu dance as Mr. Jaganmohan came out flashing a broad smile and greeted his supporters and partymen, including legislators, with folded hands.

As the convoy inched its way out of the jail premises enroute to his residence at Lotus Pond, security personnel swarming around his vehicle had a tough time keeping the jubilant supporters at a safe distance from the YSR Congress leader, who happily shook hands with several of them.

A couple of securitymen carrying automatic weapons sat atop Mr. Jaganmohan’s SUV while others cleared the way of ecstatic supporters.

Mr. Jaganmohan’s release, at a time when protests are raging across the state over its proposed bifurcation for over 50 days, comes as a huge relief for the party, which is the only political entity unequivocally favouring a unified Andhra Pradesh.

Even in his bail plea, Mr. Jaganmohan had sought his release citing the ongoing protests in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions, saying that there was a need for him to be with the people and lead the stir as leader of a political party.

Mr. Jaganmohan’s freedom could galvanise his party, particularly in the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions, witnessing most protests over the proposed creation of Telangana. Despite the movement having popular support, the protests have so far been devoid of a mass leader and Mr. Jaganmohan supporters believe he could fill the slot.

One of the conditions laid down by the court while granting him bail that he cannot leave Hyderabad without its permission could, however, prove to be an irritant in his free movement.

The case relates to investments made by various companies in Jaganmohan’s firms in return for alleged undue favours extended to them, including land and water allotments, during the tenure of his father Y S Rajasekhara Reddy as chief minister between 2004 and 2009.

Several former and a serving minister, bureaucrats and industrialists are accused in the case.

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