Hyderabad: With many opinion polls forecasting a major victory for the YSR Congress party in Lok Sabha as well as Andhra Pradesh Assembly elections, party supremo YS Jaganmohan Reddy has created a flutter by throwing open the possibility of post poll alignment with Congress.
Jagan who was so far been seen as tilting towards the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the face of a TDP-Congress friendship has sprang a surprise by signalling that he had forgiven Congress for “treatment” the party meted out to him after the death of his father and then Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy in a helicopter crash in 2009.
In an interview to a private television network Jaganmohan Reddy said that he was “forgiving by nature”. When asked about his feelings towards Congress, which had denied him Chief Ministerial berth after his father’s death, Jagan said, “I believe in God. I pray to God. I read the Bible every day. Vengeance is not for me. I am forgiving and I have forgiven”. This was being interpreted as an indication that he might not be averse to extend support to a Congress-led coalition at the centre after the elections, if such a situation arises.
YSR family and its supporters had fallen out with the Congress leadership as the party high command rejected their demand to make Jagan the chief minister in place of his father in 2009 and the split was formalised in 2011 when Jagan launched his own party YSR Congress.
Jagan who had made his debut in politics in 2009 elections by winning Kadapa Lok Sabha seat was later arrested by the CBI in connection with as many as seven cases of disproportionate assets which are still in courts.
He asserted his individual strength when he won Kadapa Lok Sabha by election in 2011 with a whopping majority of 540,000 votes.
In 2014 simultaneous polls to Andhra Pradesh assembly as well as Lok Sabha, Jagan’s party missed victory by a narrow margin of less than two per cent votes at the hands of the TDP.
However, from the trends in the current election campaign it was clear that his party was surging ahead of N. Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam.
From his remarks so far it was clear that Jagan was banking on emergence of a hung parliament without BJP or Congress getting a clear majority to assert his bargaining power.
He was calculating that he along with the Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, commanding most of the 42 Lok Sabha seats of the two Telugu states will be able to bargain with the national parties and secure their demands, Special Category Status for Andhra Pradesh being on the top. “Whosoever gives (SCS) I will support and would work with anybody”, he said.
Significantly while BJP and Narendra Modi were under attack in Andhra Pradesh for not fulfilling the promise of SCS, Congress president Rahul Gandhi has given a categorical assurance to fulfil the demand on coming to power. Earlier, Jaganmohan Reddy’s meetings with Narendra Modi on more than one occasions had given rise to speculations that he was looking for a quid pro quo and may throw his lot behind the BJP.
However, any change of heart on the part of Jagan will pose a new challenge to Congress as it was already in alliance with Chandrababu Naidu. Party’s final stand may depend on what numbers Andhra Pradesh will throw up on April 11.