One election result which could have far reaching ramifications for the Congress in Andhra Pradesh and the government at the Centre is the outcome of the Kadapa Lok Sabha by-poll which features late chief minister YS Rajsekhar Reddy’s (YSR) son YS Jaganmohan Reddy.
The parliamentary constituency witnessed heavy polling on Sunday. Significantly, the Pulivendula assembly segment where Jagan’s mother YS Vijayamma is pitted against her own brother in law YS Vivekananda Reddy of the Congress had very high poll percentage.
The battle is for the YSR legacy and both mother and son have openly challenged the Congress to a combat that would determine the future course of Andhra politics.
Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origin is amongst many other issues here.
The Congress came to power in Andhra Pradesh in both 2004 and 2009 after a strong performance under the able leadership of YSR and Sonia. In fact, maximum number of MPs in the total tally of 206 of the Congress is from the state.
So, what could be worrying the Congress leadership is that if Jagan wins with a huge margin, the outcome could lead to the de-stablisation of the state government and thus would have an impact on the politics at the Centre.
It is in this context that the party leadership has started talking about having a deputy chief minister from the Telangana region and a new Pradesh Congress Committee chief.
The idea could be to shift attention from Jagan’s possible victory to Telangana once again.
Prof Ramu Manivannan of Madras University believes that Jagan’s victory would have an adverse affect on the Andhra government and have its repercussions on the Centre too.
“It could even pave the way for a split in the state Congress’’. He feels that the Congress will try to revive the Telangana issue in the aftermath of the poll result.
There is no denying that people in the area have a strong affection for Jagan and it is to be seen whether this gets translated into votes, a senior Congress leader said on condition of anonymity.
He said Jagan was contesting on the symbol of a Ceiling Fan and his chances of succeeding depend on how his managers have been able to make this symbol synonymous with his name.
“Otherwise, many people wanting to vote for him may end up voting for the Congress since they may be under the erroneous impression that the Hand is his symbol’’.
Prof Susheela Kaushik, former Delhi University political science department head, however, believes that Jagan’s victory will have no impact on the Congress in Andhra.
“It is Congress, which has given so much of importance to this election and has thus made it into a big event. It is much ado about nothing’’.
The political perception about the poll is slightly different. It is widely accepted that since the fight is for YSR’s legacy, it will be very difficult for the Congress to contain Jagan if he wins. But as Kaushik puts it, Jagan will remain a thorn in the flesh of the Congress for the future.