Kadapa by-polls: Jagan`s major political test

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - 21:20

Hyderabad: Four months after he quit the
Congress, Y S Jaganmohan Reddy will face his first major
political test in May when he contests the by-elections
from his family pocket-borough of Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh.

Jaganmohan, who won the seat with a huge margin on a
Congress ticket in 2009, will face stiff competition from his
former party, which is said to be contemplating to field his
uncle and state minister Y S Vivekananda Reddy.

Kadapa Lok Sabha and Pulivendula Assembly segment,
represented by Jaganmohan`s mother Vijayalaxmi, will go to
by-polls on May 8, the Election Commission announced in Delhi
today.

Son of late Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, the
industrialist-turned-politician quit the Congress as well as
his Lok Sabha seat on November 29 last year alleging that the
party "humiliated" his family.

Political observers feel that a good show by Jagan in
the by-elections will spell trouble for Chief Minister N Kiran
Kumar Reddy as the rebel leader would try to go for the kill
with the help of MLAs loyal to him.

When he quit the Congress in November last, Jagan`s
group claimed he enjoyed the support of at least 36 MLAs in
the 294-member AP Assembly, a number good enough to dislodge
the Kiran Kumar Reddy government.

Just weeks later, Jagan claimed during an agitation
programme in New Delhi that the Kiran Kumar government was
surviving only "at my mercy." Over 20 Congress MLAs
participated in the protest.

"I am doing a favour to the Congress by not pulling
down its government in Andhra Pradesh," he had claimed and
maintained that he would let it continue its full term till
2014 as it came to power only because of his late father.

Political analysts are, however, unwilling to take
Jagan`s claims on face value as they aver that he would not be
so "politically imprudent" to wait on the sidelines for
another three years.

As things stand, Jagan seems to be enjoying clear
support of just a dozen Congress MLAs besides two each of
Praja Rajyam Party and Telugu Desam.

There, of course, are some fence-sitters who may jump
the wall any way depending on the circumstances.
Jagan was to set up his "own party" but some glitches
spoiled his plans as an outfit by the name "YSR Congress" was
already registered with the Election Commission.

With no other option in sight, Jagan promptly joined
the YSR Congress as an ordinary member and got "elected" as
its president last month.

He then publicly announced the name of his party at a
public meeting in Jaggampet in East Godavari district and
followed it up with the unveiling of its flag on March 12 at
his father`s grave at Rajiv Knowledge Valley in Kadapa
district.

For all practical purposes Jagan could not "formally
launch" his political party as the model code of conduct was
in place for the elections to Andhra Pradesh Legislative
Council. He cannot do it now either as the code remains in
place for the by-elections as well.

Nevertheless, he will contest the by-election from
Kadapa Lok Sabha constituency as YSR Congress party candidate
and his mother Vijayalakshmi will be the party nominee from
Pulivendula Assembly segment.

Jagan`s camp gave a shocker to the ruling party by
winning three of the nine Legislative Council seats in the
recent elections from the Local Authorities Constituencies
while marring its chances in two other.

In fact, Congress MLAs loyal to him virtually defeated
the ruling party`s nominee for the Council election from the
Assembly quota on March 17 by voting in favour ofMajlis party
candidate, though he too was supported by the Congress.

Now, Jagan`s strength will be put to real test in the
by-elections in his own fiefdom. The contest will be as much
on YSR`s political legacy as well as on Jagan`s leadership
while the sympathy factor too will come into play, the
observers feel.

PTI




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