Telangana bypolls, Jagan`s yatra raises political heat in AP

Byelections to 12 Assembly seats in Telangana region on July 27 and the obvious power game in the ruling Congress party in Andhra Pradesh have risen the political temperature in the State.

Hyderabad: Byelections to 12 Assembly seats
in Telangana region on July 27 and the obvious power game in
the ruling Congress party in Andhra Pradesh have risen the
political temperature in the State.

Fuelling the atmosphere is a rebellious young MP from
Kadapa, Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, who has virtually thrown a
challenge at the Congress high command over the continuation
of his "Odarpu Yatra" (tour to console people) from July 8.

Jagan`s yatra has come to occupy the centre stage of the
State`s political theatre even as the by-elections promise a
different drama. Whether or not Jagan`s act will culminate in
an anti-climax is a much-talked about and curiously observed
subject as the late Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy`s son
is bracing for a face-off with the Congress leadership.

Any negative outcome of this showdown (for the Jagan
camp) is certain to cast a spell on the Congress government in
the State, currently headed by Chief Minister K Rosaiah. And,
just days ahead of the by-elections in Telangana, any further
trouble in the party could be ominous for the Congress,
political analysts point out.

After announcing the resumption of his `Odarpu Yatra`
with much bravado, Jagan has reached a spot from where he
can`t obviously go back. Neither can he march ahead with his
plans by jumping the "danger" signal flashed on by the party
high command.

"If Jagan indeed jumps the `red signal`, he may face the
Congress high command`s music. This could lead to many MLAs,
most of them elected for the first time, walking out of the
party in solidarity with the first-time MP. This may only be
an extreme situation," a senior Congress leader here said.

Given the fragile strength it has in the State Assembly,
a split in the party could spell doom for the Congress. The
principal opposition Telugu Desam Party will be eager to
cash-in on such situation as it hopes to re-emerge as a
formidable force in the State.

The by-elections in Telangana could be the stage for the
TDP to showcase its might, given the strong base it enjoys in
the region. Majority of the ten Assembly constituencies, which
were held by the Telangana Rashtra Samiti in 2009, were in
fact strongholds of the TDP.

But the TDP conceded them to the TRS as part of the Grand
Alliance, thereby losing its strength. Now, the TDP is keen on
winning them back. For the Congres
s winning even one seat in
the by-elections will be a "bonus".

However, there is a lot at stake for the Congress as it
has fielded some heavyweights in half-a-dozen segments.

Beginning with Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee
president D Srinivas, who is openly claiming that he will
become the Deputy Chief Minister or even a rank higher if
elected from Nizamabad Urban constituency, former ministers
like Md Ali Shabbir, J Ratnakar Rao, G Vinod and former MP
Indrakaran Reddy are in the by-election fray.

The separatist TRS, however, is confident of a "cake
walk" in all the 11 Assembly segments it is contesting in. It
is supporting BJP in Nizamabad Urban as the latter`s Y
Lakshminarayana too resigned from the MLA`s post along with
the TRS legislators over the separate statehood issue in
February this year.

The TRS is banking solely on the "Telangana sentiment"
which, it feels, will make "Congress and TDP bite the dust for
betraying the people of the region."

There is talk in political circles here that a section of
pro-Telangana Congress leaders may extend tacit support to the
TRS to enable it win the by-polls only to project that the
Telangana sentiment remains strong.

It will be a big blow to the TRS as well as the other
separatist elements if the former loses even a couple of seats
out of the ten it previously held. The pro-Telangana forces
would want to ensure that there will not be a repeat of 2008
when the TRS was reduced from 26 to just seven after having
forced by-elections on the statehood issue.


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