YSRC triumph rings warning bells for Congress

Jagan unlikely to go for the kill ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections

A glorious past, a turbulent present and a gloomy future sum up the state of the Congress in Andhra Pradesh which was humiliated by the Jaganmohan Reddy-led YSR Congress in the recently-concluded by-elections.

The key southern state, which accounted for 33 Congress MPs in UPA after the previous Lok Sabha elections, is slipping away from the ruling party’s grip.

The 15-month-old YSRC, which is referred to as the true inheritor of former chief minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy’s political legacy by party workers, emerged as a dominant force, edging out traditional players like the Congress and the Telugu Desam Party. Bagging 15 Assembly seats and the Nellore Lok Sabha seat in the by-elections, the YSRC has sent out a clear message that it is equipped for a tooth and nail fight in the next election.

Sympathy wave

Though the Congress and TDP attributed their defeat to the “sympathy wave” triggered by Jagan’s arrest in the disproportionate wealth case, it was evident that the voters largely ignored the corruption charges against the 39-year-old legislator. The voting pattern in 12 of 23 districts showed that Jagan commands loyality among a substantial part of the electorate in the state.

Strong support base

His party seemingly enjoys support of the youth, women and minorities, especially after its promises to usher in “Rajanna Rajyam,” a reference to YSR's pro-poor regime.

The by-election results has dealt a severe blow to the beleaguered Congress government.
Speculations are rife over the stability of the Kiran Kumar Reddy government with possibility of desertion by MLAs looming large. The party had barely managed to survive a no-confidence motion in the Assembly in December, 2011.

At present, the Congress has 154 MLAs in the 294-member Assembly, six more than the magic figure of 148, and any desertion from its ranks could spell trouble for the party.

Already, two Congress legislators have submitted their resignations and pledged support for Jagan while YSRC has claimed that several Congress and TDP legislators are ready to switch loyalties.

According to sources close to Jagan, the Kadapa MP, instead of going for the kill, would rather wait for the anti-incumbency wave to consolidate till the 2014 elections.

Moreover, the 86-member Telegu Desum Party may bail out the government in case of a showdown as it is not prepared to face the mid-term polls.

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