Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Anxiety in Congress as Jagan gets bail

NEW DELHI: On a day YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy got a triumphal ride home from Chanchalguda jail, there was fresh anxiety attack in Andhra Pradesh Congress with nine party MPs appearing ready to quit and join YSR Congress.

MPs Lagadapati Rajagopal, Ananta Venkatrami Reddy, A Sai Pratap, GV Harsha Kumar, Kanumuri Bapiraju, Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy, Vundavalli Arun Kumar, Rayapati Sambasiva Rao and SPY Reddy reached the central hall of Parliament around 11am to meet the Speaker. However, minutes before the meeting, the Speaker\'s office sent word that the appointment was cancelled as she had pressing engagements in Patna, said one MP. They were told she would be available again on September 28.

By this time, said sources, the MPs got divided on the course of action, with Lagadapati, Vundavalli and Ananta saying they\'d quit and Sai Pratap, Harsha, Kamumuri, Magunta, Rayapati and SPY Reddy saying they would prefer to remain in Parliament and vote against the Telangana bill.

According to sources, chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy and PCC president Botsa Satyanarayana, both of whom are in Delhi, called the MPs for a breakfast meeting at AP Bhavan on Tuesday morning. But the three MPs bent on quitting stayed away.

Ratcheting up tension, Vijayawada MP Lagadapati Rajagopal said they would not go back on the resignations. \"We could not meet the Speaker as she was busy with her programmes. We will wait in Delhi until her arrival on Saturday and get our resignations accepted by her,\" Lagadapati said.

All this would music to Jagan\'s ears. If such desertions from Congress gain traction, he could well begin nursing dreams of his own majority in Seemandhra, which has 175 out of 294 assembly seats and 25 out of 42 Lok Sabha seats.

Political pundits predict a fight in Seemandhra among YSR Congress, TDP and Congress, with Jagan\'s party likely to emerge as the single largest. But if YSR Congress continues to attract Congress legislators, he could even get a majority of his own, which would put paid to Congress\'s plans of a power-sharing deal by which Jagan could take charge as CM of Seemandhra and support the UPA at the Centre.

At the moment, YSR Congress is maintaining that it will have no truck with the Congress. But the fact that CBI cases against Jagan are far from over might still compel Jagan to come to terms with the Congress.
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