The Congress nominees for the post of speaker and deputy speaker in the Andhra Pradesh assembly sailed through on Saturday with the number of votes the party was expecting.
This has allayed fears of Congress MLAs switching their loyalties to the camp owing allegiance to MP Jaganmohan Reddy, who went to the extent of saying the government led by Kiran Kumar Reddy was at his (Jaganmohan’s) mercy and he could pull it down at any time.
However, the YSR Congress, the party Jaganmohan Reddy formed after leaving the Congress, did not appear deflated.
While Jaganmohan Reddy has not reacted, YSR Congress spokesperson Ambati Rambabu said: “We (referring to YSR Congress’s supporters in the Congress) will vote against the government when the opposition moves the no-confidence motion.”
This victory of the Congress can also stymie the forward moves of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), which is planning a no-trust vote against the government. Jaganmohan’s mother, Vijayalaxmi, who is the sole MLA of the YSR Congress, abstained from voting.
Nadendla Manohar, the Congress candidate for the speaker’s post, secured 158 votes in a house of 294 with TDP nominee KE Krishnamurthy getting 90. Also, Mallu Batti Vikramarka, Congress’s deputy speaker candidate, sailed home comfortably by winning 164 votes as against his TDP rival’s 88.
This was the first test of strength for Kiran Kumar Reddy, who was elected chief minister in November last year with the ostensible purpose of stemming the rot in the state Congress amid hectic dissident activities by followers of Jaganmohan Reddy and the revival of the Telangana agitation. Kiran Kumar Reddy was earlier speaker, and the poll became necessary when the TDP decided to contest for the post.
The Congress had issued a whip on Friday asking its 155 MLAs and three associate members to vote for Manohar.