Hyderabad: When his father YS Rajasekhara Reddy, the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, died in a helicopter crash in 2009, Kadapa MP YS Jaganmohan Reddy was backed by 150 out of 155 Congress MLAs in the state Assembly for the Chief Minister`s post.
In 27 months since then, Jagan ? now the head of his own
YSR Congress party ? has been left with just 18 MLAs on his
side, including his mother Y S Vijaya.
In August this year, 24 MLAs from ruling Congress and one
each from Praja Rajyam Party and TDP resigned from their posts
in support of Jagan, followed by two other Congress
But gradually one after the other, the MLAs retracted as
Congress` efforts to win them over through different means
paid off, political observers say.
When the crucial vote of no-confidence came up in the
Assembly yesterday, Jagan?s final tally read 18 with 16 MLAs
from Congress and one each from PRP and YSR Congress on his
Of course, Jagan can also count on the support of one TDP
rebel MLA. He, however, did not defy any TDP whip by voting
for the no-trust motion brought by that party.
"I am proud of my MLAs who withstood pressure and stood
for a cause. They laid the foundation for new politics (in
AP)," Jagan remarked today after a meeting with the
legislators who voted against the Congress government.
One who previously claimed the Kiran Kumar Reddy
government was surviving "on my mercy" and would fall "if I
blink my eye", Jagan had a different explanation to offer as
the no-confidence motion against it was defeated comfortably
"We knew very well that the government wouldn`t fall. We
supported the cause (of the farmers). Whatever political
reason Chandrababu Naidu had (in moving the no-confidence
motion)?we ignored it. Our MLAs voted against the government
knowing fully well that they would face disqualification. Hats
off to them," the YSR Congress president said.
Stating that he was "proud of my MLAs", Jagan said he
would now go to the people with those who stood by values and
credibility and dared Congress to disqualify all his MLAs at a
time. However, sources close to Jagan claimed that he was
"unperturbed" by his dwindling strength.
In fact, they said, Jagan feels "relieved" as he can now
build his own team. "Jagan got many surveys conducted in
practically every constituency and is armed with the right
kind of feedback on the strengths and weaknesses.
"Many of the (sitting) MLAs would have become a liability
for him in the long run and getting rid of them now helps in
building a new leadership," a close confidant of the Kadapa MP
If Congress gets the 16 MLAs, who voted against the
government, disqualified, by-elections become inevitable and,
barring one, all constituencies are in the Andhra-Rayalaseema
region where YSR Congress is in a formidable position.