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Can Cong survive a no-confidence motion in AP?

By Vicky Nanjappa
November 10, 2011 15:17 IST
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Andhra Pradesh is slowly heading to another major political crisis with the opposition Telugu Desam Party threatening to move a no-confidence motion against the ruling Congress, reports Vicky Nanjappa.

The equations look a bit strange for the Congress who is trying its best to avert a no-confidence motion, as it may find it difficult to hold on to power.

Although there is an announcement that TDP would do so, there is no clarity whether they would actually go ahead with the plan.

This is mainly because if the government falls, then the state would be forced to go to mid-term polls, and the TDP at the moment seems to be unprepared to take that challenge.

Looking at the developments and also the numbers game, it becomes clear that neither the TDP nor Jagan Reddy's YSR Congress can shake Kiran Kumar Reddy's government at the moment.

Only the Congress MLAs from Telangana region -- who are more than in 50 in number -- can topple the government. Hence it becomes extremely important for both the Congress and its MLAs from Telangana that the Centre issues some sops so that the MLAs have an alibi not to vote against the government.

Most of the leaders from Telangana, cutting across party lines, are under immense pressure from the people to strengthen their stand for a separate state.

Sources say that the TDP may think it out properly before they move a no-confidence motion against the government.

There is also a petition filed before the Andhra Pradesh high court seeking a directive to the Speaker of the state assembly to conduct a floor test. The TDP may at the last moment quote the pending case to wriggle out of seeking a floor test.

Meanwhile, the Congress is taking no chances at the moment. On one hand the Congress has been claiming that 28 MLAs -- who left the party to join YSR Congress  -- will come back, thanks to the disproportionate assets case against Kadapa MP Jagan.

On the other hand, the Jagan camp has stated that at any given time they can pull out 20 more Congress MLAs to ensure that the government is reduced to a minority.

The Congress would do everything under the sun to prevent a floor test at the moment. They do realise it is a litmus test, and to make matters worse, their Telangana MLAs could swing against them.

Although the Telangana MLAs do not want to go against the party, they would be forced to do so in some numbers as they have too much to answer back at their constituencies.

The Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly has 293 MLAs after the death of Rajeshwar Reddy, the MLA from Mehboobnagar.

This would mean that the magic number would be 147. After the last elections the Congress had 155 MLAs, but today that has been reduced to just 127 after 28 left them to join Jagan.

The Congress is, however, surviving on the support of the 18 MLAs of actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi's Praja Rajyam Party.

In addition to this, the Congress have been getting the outside support from Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, whose 7 MLAs ensure that they are safe in the House.

The Congress has full understanding that the biggest problem they could face during a floor test is only from Jagan or its own Telangana MLAs.

Jagan, however, would not pull out a large number of MLAs at the moment as he would not want to antagonise the Congress too much. In fact he is busy protecting his own flock who have been threatening to return to the Congress.

All political parties would play their cards very carefully. At the moment there is no other party in the state other than the Telangana Rastriya Samithi which wants an election.

They are riding high on the 'Congress betrayal' of the Telangana movement and are aware that they could whip up that sentiment and have a cakewalk in the region.

Even Jagan should not mind an election as he could whip up the anti-Telangana wave and ride high in the Seema-Andhra belts. However, he would still prefer to wait it out and have some clarity on his own cases before facing the people.

So, the big question is what would actually transpire once the house is convened? If the TDP is serious about a no confidence vote, then the Congress would try and guard its Telangana MLAs first.

The other scenario is to ensure that there is a lot of ruckus in the House and the Congress would do its level best to ensure that the House is adjourned sine die.

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