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The Andhra battle: It's Jagan vs TDP! Cong to take backseat?

Last updated on: January 5, 2012 15:54 IST

The Andhra battle: It's Jagan vs TDP! Cong to take backseat?

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Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru

The Congress in Andhra Pradesh has chalked out a new strategy to fight the force of Jaganmohan Reddy. Sources say the party has decided to take a backseat while the Telugu Desam Party ups ante against the YSR Congress president.

Telugu Desam Party supermo Chandrababu Naidu's visit to Karnataka Governor H R Bharadwaj on Tuesday set tongues wagging in Andhra Pradesh. Rumour mills were abuzz that the former Andhra Pradesh chief minister was in Karnataka to hand over some documents pertaining the mining scam to Bharadwaj. But at the same time there is also speculation that Naidu's visit was intended at planning a strategy against YSR Congress President Jaganmohan Reddy.

A few months ago, Jagan had slammed the TDP saying that there was no opposition in Andhra since Naidu's party worked alongside the Congress. Today, this is a popular belief in political circles in the state and the proximity between the TDP and the Congress is being looked at as an attempt to wipe out Jagan.

When Jagan quit the Congress, it was clearly a war between him and the party. During various public meetings, Jagan often accused the Congress of trying to finish him and wipe out his father's Y S Rajasekhara Reddy's legacy from the state. Battlelines in Andhra were drawn -- YSR versus Sonia Gandhi. The YSR Congress chief even roped in MLAs from the Congress.

The Congress also hit back. First, they tightened the screws around the YSR Congress and then a number of cases were slapped against Jagan. 

Today, every political party in Andhra are aware that Jagan is a force to reckon with and he will put a fight in the next elections. Various exit polls also show that there is no stopping Jagan.

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Image: YSR Congress President Jaganmohan Reddy


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Sources say that the fight is no longer between the Congress and Jagan. In fact, the TDP will replace the Congress in the battle for Andhra Pradesh. What the Congress has realised is that every move against Jagan has backfired and he continues to earn sympathy from the public.   

A majority of the population from rural Andhra believes that he was wronged by the Congress and that he is now being targeted by the party. The Congress appears to have lost more than it has gained. They may have ensured that Jagan does not get too aggressive and pull down the government, but while putting a stop to him they have lost a majority vote share in Andhra.   

The TDP, on the other hand, realises that with the emergence of Jagan it has been pushed to the No 3 position in the state. According to sources, there's an unsaid agreement between the TDP and the Congress to target Jagan. In the days to come, the TDP would engage more in Jagan bashing, much to the satisfaction of the Congress.

Signs of this were first seen when the TDP started filing cases against Jagan and his assets. And in days to come the TDP proposes to file more cases against the YSR Congress chief and corner him in the illegal mining case. The party is keen to prove the nexus between Jagan and the Reddy brothers of Bellary. And if successful it is expected to hit the YSR president's popularity at least along the Andhra-Karnataka border.


Image: TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu


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The Andhra battle: It's Jagan vs TDP! Cong to take backseat?

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Political observers from Andhra Pradesh say it may seem strange that the opposition and the ruling party are working hand in hand. But this is because they have a common enemy in Jagan.

The Congress has realised that their potshots at Jagan have only worked in his favour. Hence, they plan to take a backseat by allowing the TDP to take over in the fight against the YSR Congress.

Despite this 'internal' alliance between the Congress and the TDP, one cannot say that the two parties will tie up for the elections. The Congress would want the TDP to face Jagan and would rather fight the TDP in the polls instead of the YSR Congress.

On Thursday, Ghulam Nabi Azad, the All India Congress Committee general secretary in-charge of Andhra, was in Hyderabad to hold a series of meeting with his party workers. Sources in the Congress say that they have been asked to lie low on the Jagan issue while other political parties continue to target him.


Image: Andhra CM Kiran Kumar Reddy

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