Jagan makes impact on Andhra Pradesh politics

Jagan makes impact on Andhra Pradesh politics

The by-elections to one Lok Sabha and 18 Assembly constituencies that saw the 15-month-old YSR Congress party make a near sweep, has given rise to the "Jagan phenomenon" in Andhra Pradesh politics.

So much so that everyone is now seeking to liken him to N T Rama Rao, who re-wrote the political history of the state by forming the Telugu Desam Party in 1982. It will, however, be preposterous to draw parallels between NTR and Jagan as the two are poles apart in every respect.

The one reason that has made Y S Jaganmohan Reddy a popular political leader in Andhra Pradesh now is his open defiance of Sonia Gandhi. He remained loyal to her only to the extent that his "self-respect" was not impinged upon.Once the Congress chief sought to encroach on what he believed was his "personal territory", Jagan rebelled and walked out on Sonia.

His dramatic rise has been the Congress' fall in a state that helped the grand old party grab power at the Centre for two consecutive terms since 2004.

In 2004, if Congress rose like a phoenix to capture power in Andhra Pradesh, it was singularly due to Y S Rajasekhara Reddy and it was the same man who rode it power for a second consecutive term in 2009.

The Congress could never deny this. This is precisely another factor that contributed to Jagan’s political rise – built on his late father’s legacy.

The third factor that worked in Jagan’s favour was the "credibility crisis" that the principal opposition Telugu Desam Party’s chief N Chandrababu Naidu was stuck in.

The leadership vacuum in the Congress, after YSR's death, has come as a blessing in disguise for the 39-year-old leader whose clear target is the Chief Minister’s post.

Jagan succeeded in striking a positive chord with common people largely based on the goodwill that his late father earned for himself through a slew of "welfare" programmes.

He merely used to remind people of what all his father did for them as Chief Minister and promise to continue the same trend. "People took his word, for they believe Jagan will be as steadfast as his father in implementing what all he promised," observers say.

Of course, there are certain negative attributes to Jagan, those who know him very closely say. "He is 'diametrically opposite' to his father who had a lot of grace," they feel.

However, the biggest stumbling block for Jagan in reaching his goal (CM's chair) is the Telangana issue. He is certainly a strong force in Andhra-Rayalaseema regions but not in Telangana.Unless the YSR Congress takes a clear stand on the statehood issue, Jagan may not make inroads in Telangana and that could dampen his prospects.

The Telangana region alone has 119 seats in the 294-member AP Assembly and, thus, Jagan's fortunes ultimately rest on his stand on the statehood demand.

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