With the exit polls predicting virtual rout for the Congress in the dozen assembly seats in Telangana, which went to polls on Tuesday, rebel party MP, Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy has stepped up the campaign to project himself as the only leader who can save the party in the state.
On Wednesday, two of his supporters including a sitting Lok Sabha MP said the by-election results might have been different if Jagan Mohan Reddy was allowed to conduct his Odarpu Yatra in Telangana.
"He is the only hope for the party. The Congress can hope to win the 2014 elections only under the leadership of Jagan," Congress MP from Nellore, M Rajmohan Reddy said.
Suspended APCC General Secretary, Ambati Rambabu, claimed the party in the state was in dire straits.
"Chief minister was not able to campaign for the party candidates in the by-elections. Had YSR been alive, such situation would not have arisen. Now, the party is not going to win even a single seat," he said.
"The people desperately want Jaganmohan Reddy to become the chief minister, because he is the only mass leader in the party."
Congress chief whip in the state assembly Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka advised leaders to exercise caution while issuing such statements.