From 150 MLAs in 2009, Jagan left with 18 now
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Last Updated: Tuesday, December 06, 2011, 18:40
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 legislators.

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 side.

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 last night.

"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 said.

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.


First Published: Tuesday, December 06, 2011, 18:40

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