Photographs: SnapsIndia Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad
The politics of Andhra Pradesh has seen some paradigm changes during Jagan Reddy’s absence. But now that the YSR Congress chief is out on bail, he’ll definitely seek revenge from his tormentors -- the ruling Congress, notes Mohammed Siddique.
Coming out of Hyderabad’s Chanchalguda jail after spending 14 months behind the bars and facing a prolonged probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation in to his alleged disproportionate assets and the business transactions, Y S Jaganmohan Reddy will find the outside world, especially the politics of Andhra Pradesh, dramatically altered.
The YSR Congress leader was granted bail by a special CBI court in Hyderabad in the disproportionate assets case on Monday. The Kadapa MP, who was arrested on 27 May, 2012, was granted bail on surety of Rs 2 lakh.
The politics of AP has seen a sea change during his stay in jail
Photographs: Krishnendu Halder/Reuters
In his long absence, during which the CBI slapped him and his associates with ten chargesheets and accused him of corruption, cheating and misuse of his father’s (former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajshekara Reddy) power to benefit his companies, the political map of the state has also completely changed.
Jagan, who was arrested by the CBI on May 27, 2012 after the Andhra Pradesh high court ordered the probe agency to investigate his disproportionate assets -- allegedly running in to several thousand crores -- will now go full throttle to target his tormentor: the ruling Congress.
He is coming back at a time when the political situation in Andhra Pradesh is in a tumult over the decision of the Congress Working Committee to bifurcate the state and carve out a separate Telangana.
His mother and sister has kept the party's flag flying high
During his long jail term, it was his mother Vijayalakshmi and sister Sharmila who held the reigns of his YSR Congress Party and ran a massive public contact program including a record breaking walkathon by Sharmila.
Sharmila, though a greenhorn in politics, has also been successful in keeping the party’s flag high in the current agitation in Seemandhra regions against Telangana state.
However, Jagan will find one huge difference between now and the time when he went to jail. His party has been practically eliminated from Telangana region due to its open stand against the separate state. By strongly opposing Telangana state and supporting a united Andhra Pradesh in the name of “justice to all the regions”, YSR family has forced many important and influential leaders to quit the party.
Konda Surekha, who was the first minister to resign from Andhra Pradesh cabinet demanding that Jagan be made the chief minister in his father’s place, has left the party using not so kind words for him and his family. Both Konda and her husband have returned to the Congress fold.
With a strong pro-Telangana sentiment sweeping across the region, the foot soldiers of YSR Congress have also deserted Jagan.
Jagan's return will add to TDP's woes
On the other hand there is no doubt that Jagan will get a rousing reception in his home turf of Rayalaseema as well as Andhra. He has already quit as member of Lok Sabha from Kadapa and his mother has resigned as MLA from Pulivendula constituency in protest against the proposed bifurcation.
Another MP K Rajmohan Reddy and 16 others MLAs have also done the same putting the party on a strong pitch to emerge as a champion of United Andhra Pradesh state.
To keep the sympathies of the people of Seemandhra on the side of his party he had also gone an indefinite fast in jail which landed him in hospital for some time.
Jagan’s return was likely to add to the woes of both the Congress as well as main opposition Telugu Desam party.
With Congress in utter confusion in Seemandhra over the plans of party high command to divide the state and people revolting against the party, the reagion with 25 Lok Sabha seats is likely to witness a direct fight between the YSRCP and TDP.
Recovering from his initial flip flop, TDP President N Chandrababu Naidu was now trying to win the trust of the people of Andhra by raising his voice against division and targeting the Congress party. With Jagan out of jail, Naidu will find a stiff counter to his campaign from the young scion of YSR family.