Bogged down by raids, the long road ahead of Jagan
With Central Bureau of Investigation raids continuing unabated against YSR Congress chief Jagan Mohan Reddy in both Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, the road ahead does not look easy for the leader who has been threatening to erode the Congress base in Rayalaseema and Andhra.
A man who had stormed into the political circles with much style finds himself on a shaky ground today thanks to the never ending cases and also cracks within his own newly-formed party.
Four days back while speaking about the CBI raids being ordered against him, he was aggressive and termed it as a 'ploy by the Congress.'
He said he is ready for any challenge and also dared the Congress to try and finish him. However, his camp appears to be on the backfoot on Thursday following the series of raids and their tone is meek when they say they will cooperate.
The battle ahead for Jagan is sure going to be tough and the CBI has a plan on hand to deal in this case. The strategy adopted by the CBI is three pronged.
First they would check every detail of Jagan and his family members. The news of raids in Bengaluru give indication that the CBI is also going after his friends and investors.
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Image: YSR Congress chief Jagan Mohan Reeddy
There's a good chance of his assets being seized
The son of former AP chief minister would have hoped that the Supreme Court had heard his special leave petition before the CBI conducted the raids. The SLP which seeks to stop the raids is yet to be heard.
However, Jagan was criticised for filing the SLP and his supporters even questioned the need for him to do that. Their argument was that if he is clean he should let the CBI raid his offices, and if there is nothing on him then he would come out clean.
On Thursday, according to sources, there is a good chance of his assets being seized and the money being spent on his party coming under thorough scrutiny.
Moreover, there is news that there are many disgruntled elements within Jagan's party. All these factors could go against him.
Some of his party workers feel that Jagan, after the mass support that he had seen ever since the party was floated, had become too arrogant. They accuse him of running the party all by himself.
Most of his party workers want an assurance regarding tickets for the next elections, but Jagan has been non-committal on the issue.
"There is a sense of insecurity among the people who have left their parties and supported him," a member of his party said.
"Moreover, he needs to keep assuring us about our future since elections are a long way off. We cannot sit in anticipation as to what may or may not happens at the end of it all," the party worker added.
Image: Mediapersons throng the office of Jagan's Saakshi TV as it was being raided by CBI
'Cong perceives Jagan as a major threat'
In addition to this, the probe against him too is going to only become stronger. Jagan has said that the Congress had stage-managed the CBI probe since they were scared of his growth.
Those loyal to him say that the Congress wants him to buckle down since they perceive him as a major threat. The problems for Jagan would surely escalate as elections come closer since the Congress does feel that he is likely to pull out a major chunk of their MLAs.
The MLAs have also been told clearly now by the Congress that there is no future for them if they join Jagan, since they would go after him and weaken his base and it appears as though most of the MLAs have agreed to whatever has been said.
The CBI, on the other hand, will probe the cases against him under the provisions available under the Indian Penal Code, Prevention of Corruption Act and also the Money Laundering Act.
In the days to come the government will also press into service the Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax department which will only increase the heat on him.
What is making matters worse for Jagan is that these agencies will also go into some of the decisions taken by his father, Y S Rajashekhara Reddy, in order to show the leader in poor light which prompted Jagan to make a comment that 'they don't spare a dead man also.'
This is being done to ensure that Jagan cannot use his father's name with the amount of pride he does today.
Some political observers, however, believe that there will be no logical end to this battle between Jagan and the Congress.
There is likely to be an arrangement between the two. One of his supporters even said, "We think he will go back to the Congress."
The Congress is desperate for a mass leader and Jagan has now realised that it is one thing to win a solitary battle in Kadapa and a whole other thing to win the entire state.
Image: CBI sleuths raid Jagan's residence in Hyderabad on Thursday
A Cong-Jagan compromise on the cards?
Although the question of Jagan returning to the Congress is a distant possibility at the moment, there could be some other compromise between the two and the first one being a 'no poaching' arrangement.
While all this will be decided in the days to come, the biggest challenge before Jagan is to justify his sudden rise in income.
Some say that in 2004, he was worth Rs 1 lakh, and in 2009 he was worth Rs 77 crore, and today he is worth Rs 365 crore.
This is quite an astonishing number for him to justify. His entire legal team is at work to ensure that not much damage is created.
Jagan's team realises that his enemies are on the offensive since there is a desperate situation in the political circles of Andhra Pradesh. The Congress in particular is the most affected party in the state today.
On one hand they reel under the Jagan wave, and on the other the Telangana movement is catching up to them.
The fact of the matter is that the Congress does not want to lose its base in Seema-Andhra and Telangana. Their strategy in the days to come would be to safeguard the entire state in whatever way they can.
Image: Jagan generated massive public support during his Odarpu Yatra in Andhra Pradesh