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Andhra: The wait and watch game begins

June 03, 2011 15:43 IST

There was trouble yet again in Andhra Pradesh, with the Telugu Desam Party moving a no confidence motion against the Congress government on Thursday.

However, the current situation appears as if the exercise may not gain any more steam, and the chances are that the Congress will survive this scare if at all the trust vote goes through, informed sources.

For starters, TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu had made it clear that he had no intention of toppling the government. A source said that that it would mean that he was just trying to shake the Congress tree a bit.

However, the problem for the Congress is neither the TDP nor any other party.

As of now, the Congress is comfortable, with 155 of its members of legislative assembly, when the magic number to survive is 148. However, the big upset here could be YSR Congress President Jaganmohan Reddy.

This is owing to the fact that the Jagan camp has claimed that it has the support of 40 MLAs in the Congress, who are ready to crossover at short notice.

Sources in the YSR Congress say that they are still deciding on what is to be done. "We want to see if the TDP moves the motion in the first place," said a source.

During the Kadapa by-poll, Jagan had made it clear that the Congress and the TDP are one, and he had no interest in toppling the government. He had said that he would rather have his party play the role of a constructive opposition.

Judupi Prabhakar, a leader in the YSR Congress says the same thing. "There is no reason for us to believe Naidu. We cannot say anything until he decides on moving the trust vote," he said.

Meanwhile, the Congress camp looks upbeat at the moment. They say that they have their strategy ready, and there is no threat to the government. A source said that the moment a trust vote is moved, a whip will be issued.

The Congress says that it would disqualify members who fail to support the party during the trust vote. This would reduce the strength of the house and the Congress would be able to sail through the trust vote.

Moreover, it is confident of the support of the 18 Praja Rajyam Party MLAs and seven from the Majlis-e-lttehad Muluslimeen. The Telangana Rashtra Samiti has however made it clear that it would vote against the government, if at all a trust vote is moved.

The Jagan camp is aware of this ploy by the Congress and hence it is unlikely that they would do anything to destabilise the government.

Moreover, if these members are disqualified for anti-party activities, then it becomes difficult for them to contest immediately. In addition to this, Jagan has been clearly advised not to topple the government immediately, since in the minds of the public it would look as though he is fighting a personal battle because of his fallout from the party.

A YSR source said that he intends on building the party.

"He won in the Kadapa by-polls by an enviable margin, but it will still take some for the party to test itself in the rest of the state," he said.

Hence, it seems like the current game would be wait and watch. He seems to also have taken the Telangana factor into account, and would prefer it if the government fails by itself, rather than him having anything to do with it.

Political analysts in Andhra Pradesh say that this is not the worst scenario for the Congress.

"We are sure that in all probability, the trust vote may not be moved after all. Moreover, going by Naidu's tone it is clear that the TDP MLAs will stage a walkout when the trust vote is moved, and hence it is a clear indication that the Congress is safe for the moment," said an analyst.

"The Telangana issue is something that they will need to worry about. They will face the heat from their own MLAs, and there is very little they can do in case of a revolt," he added.

However, as of now all the political energy is being focused on the election for the post of speaker which will be held on Saturday.

So there will be more clarity on the issue once this election is over, since the process can only commence once the speaker is elected.
Vicky Nanjappa