Just three months back, it looked like YS Jaganmohan Reddy would easily form the government in Seemandhra and win a majority of the 25 parliamentary seats. Surveys backed the perception.
But the wheel of fortune has turned since Andhra’s bifurcation. Jagan's popularity has dipped and surveys that gave him 15 seats in February are now giving him only nine. It has forced Jagan to sweat it out for warding off TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu from occupying the Seemandhra CM’s chair.
So what factors have worked against the late YSR's son?
One, the TDP’s campaign that he was in cahoots with the Congress in splitting Andhra to become the Seemandhra CM. In this light, his getting bail in the assets case went against him.
Two, Naidu's acceptance as the first-choice CM has grown as many voters believe that an experienced person (Naidu has been the longest serving CM of Andhra) can help build the new state better. "Naidu transformed Hyderabad into Cyberabad," was the feedback HT received in Krishna and Godavari in March.
Three, after the TDP’s alliance with the BJP — whose leader Narendra Modi is the frontrunner for the PM’s chair — the view that Naidu can push development has gained ground. Jagan suffered another setback when several YSRCP leaders, including Anakapalli MP Sabbam Hari, left the party in a huff and accused him of being "selfish and self-centred".
But Jagan is working hard to claw his way back into the game. He is on a road-show spree, drawing crowds, taunting Naidu and promising to change the fate of the poor in Seemandhra. "Don't go by the TDP propaganda or the surveys. We’ll win 120 assembly and 20 Lok Sabha seats," senior party leader Mysura Reddy said.