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Andhra: Many Cong, TDP MLAs likely to join Jagan

June 16, 2012 20:00 IST
Spurred by the spectacular victory of the YSR Congress in the by-elections, many ruling Congress members of Legislative Assembly and main opposition Telugu Desam Party are believed to be keen to join the Jaganmohan Reddy bandwagon in Andhra Pradesh but he is said to wary of taking all of them.

"Not all defectors are welcome into YSRC and certainly not at this stage. They can join us in due course of time," a key leader of the YSRC said after meeting Jagan in Chanchalguda prison in Hyderabad.

Many of the newly re-elected MLAs of YSRC, led by former minister Balineni Srinivasa Reddy, met Jagan in the prison.

What is probably acting as a deterrent for the time being for those ready to switch side -- and also YSRC -- is the possibility of President's rule being clamped in the state if the government lands in a crisis due to the defections.

The YSRC, according to party insiders, doesn't want the Kiran Kumar Reddy government to fall at once. Rather, it would like to leave Congress fully debilitated by 2014 when fresh assembly polls are due.

When YSRC came into being in March last year, at least 29 Congress MLAs were displaying "loyalty" to Jagan but by the time of no-confidence motion in December last, the number got reduced to 16.

Besides, one MLA each of the TDP and erstwhile Praja Rajyam Party are also on Jagan's side.

At least a dozen MLAs from the Congress, some of whom had previously hobnobbed with Jagan for some time and later stayed back in their parent party, are reportedly ready to switch sides.

The YSRC, however, is said to be treading a cautiously in respect of such legislators and weighing various pros and cons for opening its doors to them.

A day before his arrest, Jagan himself maintained that he was being "picky and choosy" about the leaders willing to join his party.

Two Congress MLAs have already resigned from the House early this month to join Jagan but their resignations are yet to be accepted. Two others expressed their "solidarity" with Jagan by openly defying the Congress.

A group of Congress MLAs from Telangana region met in Hyderabad after the by-elections on June 12 and said it would announce its course of action in the next few days.

The Telangana legislators are seething over the Congress' "complete indifference" on the statehood issue. The Congress is from time to time threatening to crack the whip on the rebels but is actually shying away from doing so fearing the fragility of the government will be exposed.

At least half a dozen legislators from TDP too are believed to seeking to cross over to the YSRC.

What is giving jitters to the TDP is the talk that at least four of its legislators from Krishna district in coastal Andhra, one of its strongholds, are on the verge of exit from party to join the YSRC.

In neighbouring Guntur district too, a couple of TDP MLAs are on the probable defectors' list. TDP MLA from Mantralayam, Balanagi Reddy, still remains loyal to Jagan and his switching over to YSRC could just be a formality.

It's not Jagan's popularity alone that is prompting the Congress and the TDP MLAs to look towards the YSRC. The political dynamics in different districts, caste equations, faction politics within a party and one-upmanship

(leading to sidelining of certain leaders) are some of the main reasons for some legislators and senior leaders to seek greener pastures.

 In the YSRC, they see an opportunity to grow along with the party. Hence, the rush to cross over.

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