Hyderabad, November 30: A day after resigning from the Congress party and his Kadapa parliament seat, Y.S.Jaganmohan Reddy kept the ruling party and his supporters guessing about his next move.
The young leader, who arrived in his native Pulivendula town in Andhra Pradesh’s Kadapa district Tuesday, met his close aides and discussed future course of action. He is likely to return to Hyderabad only on Thursday.
Sources close to Jagan said he was adopting “wait and watch” stance before making his next move, which most likely is to float a new party to emerge as another Sharad Pawar or Mamata Banerjee to take on Congress.
Meanwhile, state Congress chief D.Srinivas met the party leaders at Gandhi Bhavan, the party headquarters here, to review the situation and also to assess the damage Jagan may cause to the Congress.
The son of late chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR), Jagan Monday resigned from the Congress party, accusing the leadership of hatching a conspiracy to divide his family.
His mother Vijayalaxmi also resigned as member of the state assembly from Pulivendula constituency, also in Kadapa district. But his uncle, YSR’s brother Y.S. Vivekananda Reddy, has stayed on with the Congress.
After paying tributes to his father at his grave at Idupulapaya family estate, the 38-year-old industrialist-politician met Vivekananda Reddy in an effort to persuade him to leave the Congress but failed.
Vivekananda Reddy, a member of state legislative council, made it clear that he would not leave the party till his last breath and also condemned Jagan’s allegations against the leadership.
Jagan’s supporters, including four legislators and an MP, rushed to Pulivendula to meet him. For the second day, his sympathisers at the grassroots level in the party and in local bodies in a few districts resigned en masse, but no MP or legislator has quit yet.
Konda Surekha, a legislator and Jagan loyalist, said she would remain in the party as long as Jagan wants her to be. She indicated that he would soon launch his own party.
By cashing in on the legacy of his late father YSR, Jagan hopes to build his party as a key force in the 2014 elections, in case he fails to gather support among Congress legislators to force by-elections now.
By appealing to his loyal legislators not to resign for his sake, he has also tried to keep the Congress leadership confused about the number of his supporters.
As many as two dozen legislators showed up at a public meeting at Kakinada in July during the ‘Odarpu Yatra’ which he had undertaken against the wishes of the leadership.
Congress sources believe that the number has now reduced to single digit but the Jagan camp is claiming the support of at least 30 legislators.
Jagan hopes to draw more support from the disgruntled legislators left out of Wednesday’s cabinet formation. The former Kadapa MP will keenly be watching who is inducted into the cabinet and who is left out.
Political observers, however, say it may not be easy for Jagan to pull down the government given the support it is sure to get from two parties.
The Praja Rajyam Party of actor-turned-politician K. Chiranjeevi has turned down the Congress’ offer to join the cabinet but it has assured outside support to save the government. The PRP has 18 legislators in the 294-member assembly and even if two dozen legislators walk out of Congress, the PRP could still save the government.
The Congress can also fall back on the support of its ally Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), which has seven legislators.
After Vijayalaxmi’s resignation, the tally of the Congress has come down to 156 in the 294-member assembly. The magic figure to ensure majority is 149.
The main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has 89 legislators, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) 11 and the Left parties five legislators. There are four Independents.