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Jagan Reddy won't give up without a fight

Last updated on: August 19, 2011 19:14 IST

Jagan Reddy won't give up without a fight

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Though the CBI raids may not dent his popularity, Jaganmohan Reddy may need to rethink his strategy in Andhra Pradesh politics, opines Vicky Nanjappa

The raids on YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy's properties by the Central Bureau of Investigation may have major ramifications for Andhra Pradesh politics.

Has the Congress in the state, threatened by Jagan's popularity, managed to push him on to the back-foot by these raids?

The Kadapa Member of Parliament has definitely cut down his tirades against the party as he is too busy fighting the cases filed against him after the raids.

Although an apparently unfazed Jagan continues with his Odarpu Yatra, the focus of the attention has shifted to the cases against him from his much-hyped yatra.


Image: Jagan Mohan Reddy
Photographs: SnapsIndia
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32 Congress MLAs support Jagan

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The Congress government's apprehensions about being dislodged by the massively popular leader have abated for the time being. These raids will also send a clear message to Congress legislators who continue to support Jagan.

As many as 32 members of legislative assembly have openly supported Jagan and attended the plenary of the YSR Congress party held in July. These MLAs will now be forced to wait for developments before making any decisive moves.

Jagan would also not try to lure any other Congress leader to his party as that would antagonise the ruling party further and it may intensify the probe against him. He is likely to make his next move before the state elections.

 


Image: One of the premises raided by the CBI
Photographs: Snapsindia
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CBI raids won't dent Jagan's popularity

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His loyalists in the Congress are likely to gauge the situation and find out if they can bargain for more before joining the YSR Congress. They may also seek an assurance regarding election tickets which Jagan has refused to commit to so far.

These CBI raids don't seem to have dented Jagan's popularity as proved by the turnout for his Odarpu Yatra. Many of his followers believe that this is just a witch-hunt by the Congress to contain Jagan.

Since he left the Congress, Jagan has spoken scathingly of his former party and claimed that he got a raw deal from its leaders.

 


Image: One of the premises raided by the CBI
Photographs: Snapsindia
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Jagan needs to go on the defensive

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But he may have to tweak the strategy of his offensive as the Congress is likely to paint him and his father -- former Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Rajshekara Reddy -- in an unfavourable light. Jagan needs to go on the defensive to safeguard his own image and that of his late father.

Jagan is perceived as a mass leader in Andhra politics and many feel that he was unfairly denied the top post of chief minister after the untimely death of YSR, who died in an air crash in 2009. His popularity would have ensured that the Congress came back to power, feel his followers.

The millionaire MP continued to prove his popularity after walking out of the Congress. His strategy was to eat into the vote-share of the Congress in Andhra and Rayalseema and poach as many Congress MLAs as possible.


Image: One of the premises raided by the CBI
Photographs: Snapsindia
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Jagan may look for new candidates

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But in the wake of the raids, Jagan has been forced to change his strategy. Since Congress MLAs may be reluctant to join him at this juncture, he may look for new candidates, along the lines of what his father did during the state elections in 2009.

The right caste equation, not mass popularity, is what Jagan will look for in these candidates.

Along with the 32 Congress MLAs who support him, the YSR Congress chief will now seek 15 candidates to be poached. While these 15 candidates are capable of winning an election on their own merit, the rest of them will need a mass leader behind them.

But Jagan is realistic enough to know that most of these leaders may not join him in the end.

 


Image: One of the premises raided by the CBI
Photographs: Snapsindia
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'My accounts are clean'

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The Kadapa MP claims the raids won't affect him or his chances in state politics.

"Is the Congress trying to say that there has been some new discovery? My accounts are clean. If the Congress thought otherwise, why didn't they bring up this issue in all the years I was with the party? Why rake this up now?" asked Jagan.

Jagan's loyalists claim that the raids have in fact ensured the sympathy of more of his supporters who feel that their leader is being targeted for obvious reasons. His supporters in the Congress and his party will always stand by him, they said.

 


Image: One of the premises raided by the CBI
Photographs: Snapsindia
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Jagan doesn't want to lose support base in Telangana

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The MLAs who support him have not stayed back in the Congress due to the raids but because Jagan wants them there, claim his supporters. They add that he still enjoys the support of 32 MLAs and can easily bring the government down.

But these raids will force Jagan and his followers to rethink their strategy for the regions of Andhra-Rayalseema and Telangana. Although Jagan has not made a favourable statement on the creation of Telangana, he would still be wary of losing the crucial support of voters from that region.

But he will wait for the Congress strategy on Telangana -- whether it agrees to the creation of a separate state. If not, then Jagan may enter an electoral tie-up with Telangana Rashtra Samiti at least in that region.

 


Image: One of the premises raided by the CBI
Photographs: Snapsindia
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Jagan will whip up sentiments against Telangana

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In case the ruling party relents to the demand for Telangana, Jagan will whip up sentiments against the creation of a separate state in Rayalseema and Andhra belts to eat into the Congress vote share there.

There has been speculation that Jagan may mull a return to the Congress due to the raids. Several MLAs have already demanded that he be brought back to the party as he is the best mass leader in the state.

But Jagan is unlikely to make such a move till he tests the political waters. If he believes that he can come back to power on his own, he is unlikely to give in without a strong fight.

 


Image: One of the premises raided by the CBI
Photographs: Snapsindia
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