AP set to witness political migration

An exodus of elected representatives from the ruling Congress is on the cards in Andhra Pradesh (AP) with the UPA government racing against time to get the Telangana Bill passed in Parliament before the end of the ongoing session.

Rayalaseema and coastal AP regions, jointly referred to as Seemandhra, are set to witness migration of leaders in search of greener pastures ahead of the general elections.

The MPs and MLAs of the region are coming under increasing public pressure to quit their posts and demonstrate their commitment to the cause of a united Andhra Pradesh.

The expulsion of six Seemandhra MPs from the Congress on Tuesday, for moving a no-confidence motion against their own party-led government and for disrupting Parliament, is expected to hasten the process of political migration.

The opposition YSR Congress (YSRC), headed by Kadapa MP Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), headed by former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, emerged as the favoured destinations.

While the YSRC is unequivocally opposed to the division of the state, the TDP has been fighting for what it calls “equal justice for all regions” before moving ahead with the bifurcation.

The indications of the changing political loyalties are already available. Senior Congress leader and former minister D Prasada Rao and two other MLAs, T Vijay Kumar and J Jagan Naikulu, have joined the YSRC.

The Congress leaders from Seemandhra are worried that their party could be wiped out in the region in the upcoming elections. Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, who has revolted against the party leadership’s decision to divide the state, said the Congress had “zero prospects” in the polls.

Mines and Geology Minister G Aruna Kumari is all set to quit the Congress and switch over to the TDP next week. Her industrialist son G Jayadev has already joined the TDP.

Another Congress MP from Ongole, Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy, has also dropped hints that he might join the TDP as he feels the Congress’ prospects in coastal AP are very bleak. Infrastructure and Investments Minister G Srinivasa Rao and several of his followers are likely to join either the YSRC or TDP.

The exodus could gain momentum once the bill is tabled in Parliament. According to Congress sources, at least 30 legislators, including some ministers, are planning to switch their loyalty.

In the 294-member AP Assembly, Seemandhra region accounts for 175 seats, while Telangana has 119 members.

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