Amid speculation that Congress will neutralise the Jagan camp by accomodating some of his loyalists in the new Andhra Pradesh cabinet, the rebel Kadapa MP may find the going tough. For the 38-year-old son of former Chief Minister Y S R Reddy, who has been aspiring to become the CM, the increasing isolation may push him into breaking away from Congress and forming a new party, political analysts feel.
His uncle and member of Legislative Council, Y S Vivekananda Reddy, YSR's brother, has rubbed salt to Jaganmohan Reddy's injury by offering to "patch up" the strained relationship between his nephew and the Congress high command by "expressing our regret over the episodes telecast on Sakshi television channel." The channel, owned by Jagan, raised the hackles of the party leadership by targeting Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi.
Vivekananda's move has only left a defiant Jagan more embarrassed even as his camp tried to do some damage control by announcing that their leader had done nothing wrong that warranted any explanation to the high command. By distancing itself from Vivekananda's statement, his camp desperately sought to send a message that Jagan would not buckle under presure.
Vivekananda met Sonia in Delhi on Sunday and is understood to have discussed the political situation in Andhra Pradesh arising out of the rebellious attitude of Jagan. Jagan will have wait till Wednesday to make up his mind on whether or not to continue in the Congress party, what with the constitution of the state Council of Ministers likely to happen only that day. He is anxiously awaiting the formation of the state cabinet to assess his standing in the scheme of things in the Congress and chalk out his future path, his supporters say.
One of his close followers and former minister Pilli Subhash Chandra Bose claimed he would not join Kiran Kumar Reddy's Cabinet after it became clear that he would face the axe for having defied the party high command, along with another former minister Balineni Srinivasa Reddy, on the Odarpu Yatra issue. The Congress high command is also keeping Jagan on tenterhooks by not showing any hurry in taking action against him for targeting the party leadership
"Jagan is violating party discipline", said senior leader and Union minister S Jaipal Reddy. "Naturally the decision (about action on Jagan) has to be taken at the national level of the party." He was responding to queries on the likelihood of disciplinary action against the young MP.
Offering plum portfolios to YSR loyalists is being seen by Jagan's supporters as a ploy to marginalise him. Also, a deputy CM coming from the sensitive Telangana region is expected to help counter the pro-Telangana lobby within the Congress who are pushing for a separate state.
"Jaganmohan Reddy has given a free hand to the Sakshi TV editorial. I have also seen that programme. It mentions both the positives and the negatives. I don't think for something like this, Congress party will take action against Jagan," said Ambati Rambabu, a Jagan supporter.
But after receiving the report a few days back, AICC in-charge for the state and Law Minister M Veerappa Moily had taken strong exception to the contents of the telecast, saying it was a "serious issue". Sakshi, the 24-hour Telugu news channel had in its one-hour show targeted Singh along with the "coterie around Sonia" for the "sorry state of affairs in Congress." The nearly two-month long "Odarpu Yatra" Jagan undertook in Prakasam and Nellore districts from September 3 had in fact taken a heavy toll on this industrialist-turned-politician's body that he has been advised "complete bed rest" for at least for two months.
"He may resume his yatra subsequently but not in the fashion he did in the last leg covering thousands of kilometres for hours on end in the two districts. Such strenuous touring can prove dangerous for him given his current condition," a senior doctor attending on him said. This has become a worrying factor for the belligerent MP, suffering from spondylitis, since he had promised to continue his yatra from January next to console families whose members either died of shock or allegedly committed suicide following the death of his father.
Putting off or delaying the yatra inordinately in view of his bad health will adversely affect Jagan's ambitious political plans since he has set his eyes on the CM's chair.