Faced with the double whammy of keeping its flock together in the wake of clamour for a separate Telangana in Andhra Pradesh and the increasing clout of rebel YS Jaganmohan Reddy, the Congress high command on Wednesday met Telangana MPs.
Although Jagan declared in Delhi that he had no intention of destabilising the Congress government in the state, parties are not willing to take the statement on face value.
Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, defence minister AK Antony, political secretary to the Congress president Ahmed Patel and law minister and party incharge of Andhra M Veerappa Moily met the 16 MPs to convince them that the Centre would take "an appropriate decision at the right time" on the issue of Telangana.
In Hyderabad, CM Kiran Kumar Reddy said Jagan posed no threat. "We face the problem of Telangana and the problem of one individual. We will tackle them one by one," he said.
TDP boss N Chandrababu Naidu dubbed Jagan’s concern for farmers as "shedding crocodile tears, forgetting that it was his father who plundered them".
In the 294-member Assembly, the Congress has 155 seats, only 12 more than the majority mark. The feeling in political circles in Andhra is that Jagan may pull the rug any time.
"The government was contemplating to impose President’s Rule in the state after Srikrishna report was made public," said Kisan Reddy, state president, BJP.
Rumours are also rife that more Congress MLAs may join Jagan. "When 23 MLAs joined Jagan at Delhi, it became clear that the government had lost majority in the state. But, Jaganmohan is not ready to destabilise the government," said Jagan’s aide Ambati Rambabu.