His stock may have dwindled, but his cockiness remains undiminished. A day after 17 MLAs of the ruling Congress voted in favour of an abortive no-trust motion in Andhra Pradesh, YSR Congress chief YS Jaganmohan Reddy on Tuesday dared the state government to disqualify them and hold by-elections in their constituencies at one go.
The count of 17 was a far cry from the 26 Congress MLAs who had voiced support for Jaganmohan when he had walked out of the party last year.
Even on Sunday, 19 Congress MLAs had pledged support to him.
The Kiran Kumar Reddy government defeated the no-trust motion, introduced by the main opposition TDP, by 38 votes in the 295-member assembly after a marathon 16-hour debate.
Of the 283 members present, 160 voted against the motion, while 122 voted for the motion. One remained neutral.
“If they have the guts, let them go for elections in all 17 constituencies in one go rather than making an issue of this and going for elections in phases,” Jaganmohan said after a meeting with the rebel MLAs.
“Let us go to the people, face the elections and see who the people are with.”
The Lok Sabha MP from Kadapa said holding by-elections simultaneously was necessary because the government could otherwise send ministers to each constituency to hoodwink the electorate.
Referring to his declining support among Congress MLAs, Jaganmohan — son of late YS Rajasekhara Reddy (popularly known as YSR) — said conscience and not numbers were important for him.