Its near-decimation at the hands of Jaganmohan Reddy's YSR Congress in the Andhra Pradesh byelections has put the Congress in a tizzy with talks of more MLAs crossing over. The party is now hoping that its flock stays together long enough to deliver the votes needed to ensure that United Progressive Alliance (UPA) presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee sails through the presidential polls.
The Congress expects to secure votes of at least 179 MLAs (out of 294) and 33 MPs (out of 42). Besides its 155 MLAs and 30 MPs, the Congress has the support of MIM, which has 1 MP and 7 MLAs. TRS, which has 2 MPs and 17 MLAs, has also extended support.
Numbers notwithstanding, the Congress high command is not taking any risk.
"The high command had deputed Union minister Vayalar Ravi for the bypolls. It is likely that a high-ranking central leader will be deputed to micro-manage the polls," said a Congress MP.
After the byelections, the number of YSR Congress MLAs has shot up from 2 to 17 making Reddy a force to reckon with.
According to sources, both Trinamool Congress and JD-U have already approached him for support.
Sources close to Reddy feel he may not encourage Congress MLAs sympathetic towards him to vote against Mukherjee.
"Jagan is aware that Mukherjee was against his leaving the Congress and tried his best to prevail on central leaders not to precipitate the break," said a top YSR Congress leader.