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Jagan juggernaut gives Cong, TDP the jitters

india Updated: Jun 16, 2012 01:16 IST
Ashok Das
Ashok Das
Hindustan Times
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Having convincingly won 15 of the 18 assembly seats and one Lok Sabha seat in the by-elections, the YSR Congress looks all set to repeat 1978 in Andhra Pradesh.

Back then a splinter group headed by J Vengal Rao trumped the ruling Congress headed by Brahmananda Reddy by a wide margin, not only to wrest power but also to claim the tag of the official Congress.

The wide winning margins of the YSR Congress candidates now indicate that it was a clear wave in favour of 39-year-old Jagan Mohan Reddy. The ruling Congress merely won two seats, ended third on 10 seats and lost its deposits on five seats. Only in 2009 the Congress had won these seats convincingly.

Political watchers say Reddy votes got consolidated in favour of the Kadapa MP. "The Reddys are disillusioned with the chief minister," said a Congress MLA. Interestingly, 11 of the YSR Congress winners are Reddys.

Will the results precipitate crisis for the Kiran Kumar Reddy government? The ruling party has a wafer thin majority: its current tally is 154 in 294 assembly. Even though it has the backing of seven MIM MLAs, it will take only 15 MLAs to resign to precipitate a crisis. And Jagan camp claims at least 20 MLAs are ready to quit anytime.

But there appears no imminent threat to the government. First, because the 80-member TDP does not want mid-term polls and may bail it out. Second, Jagan being in jail is handicapped in mounting any major offensive.

He is instead targeting 2014.

The election results have, however, come as a warning signal to the Congress and TDP. While the Congress faced a drubbing, the main opposition party could not even open its account. Chandrababu Naidu is desperate to revive the party after having lost in 2004 and 2009 elections. This could well be his last chance.