The Congress believes he can.
Kiran Kumar Reddy (50) was chief whip of the Congress legislature party between 2004 and 2009. He was the chief troubleshooter for YS Rajasekhar Reddy, particularly in taking on the wily Chandrababu Naidu with great success. Before he was picked for the chief minister’s post last week, he was speaker of the house, a job that allowed him to stay in touch with all the Congress MLAs.
Unlike his predecessor, K Rosaiah, who was frustrated at the Congress leadership’s wait-and-watch approach towards Jaganmohan, the incumbent has a clear mandate from the high command to deal with dissent. He has the high command’s backing also.
When the party leadership was thinking of bringing YSR to the Centre, he had started making moves to become chief minister.
Kiran Reddy has started identifying strong leaders or groups in the districts and he is expected to project these people to be a foil to Jaganmohan.
His image of being a loyalist of YSR is also expected to help him neutralise some of Jaganmohan’s followers.
“He can go to any extent to tackle Jaganmohan for his sheer survival,” said a ministerial aspirant.
Going against him are his lack experience in government, the massive financial clout of Jaganmohan and the fact that Reddy is not a mass leader.