Five months after he exited the Congress, shooting off a letter rejecting its leadership, YS Jaganmohan Reddy said he is not averse to supporting Sonia Gandhi.
During a roadshow in rural Kadapa, seeking votes for the bypolls to the parliamentary seat prompted by his resignation, the ex-Congressman said he would not mind the proposition, if he could “claim mileage from such support”.
“When I have the numbers, I will go on to support the Congress. I will also claim key ministries, why should they be with other states (Tamil Nadu or West Bengal)?” he said, invoking the Telugu Atmagouravam (self respect) – a slogan that still sells in the state.
Reddy’s change of tack comes as he finds himself in a corner. The Andhra Pradesh HC has taken up a suo motu case against him over his alleged disproportionate assets. The state assembly has formed a joint legislative committee to inquire about the land allotments made during YSR’s time. There are also reports that the Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax Department will crack down on Reddy’s firms.
“Let there be no confusion… I do not feel I should not support Sonia Gandhi,” Reddy said, even as he termed the May 8 Kadapa bypolls “a battle between Sonia Gandhi and YSR legacy, that is, Jagan.”
Kadapa is viewed as the YSR family fiefdom. So while the Congress is making all efforts – deploying 15 ministers to campaign in the constituency – a victory is crucial to Reddy. The results, analysts say, will point to the future power centre in the state.
Andhra minister DL Ravindra Reddy is the Congress candidate. The TDP has fielded Mysura Reddy.
The present situation, Reddy said, does not allow him to pull down the Kiran Reddy government. “My numbers really do not make any difference.”
Though confident of a ‘major victory’, Reddy – who got over a 1.7 lakh margin last time -- is not sure if he can repeat the feat. “The state is using full force, they deployed 15 ministers to see I do not win,” he said.
Regarding the national scene, he indicated his readiness to form an alternative platform to Congress and BJP. “I am open to all parties except the BJP,” he said a day after his speech at Proddatur, where he said he would “ally with the BJP if it supports 10% Muslim reservation”.