Jagan’s AP coast tour shakes Cong!

Hyderabad: Former Congress MP Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy’s tour of coastal Andhra is sending ripples in the ruling Congress party, with some legislators coming out openly to support him.

After his visit to Krishna district triggered cracks in the ruling party, late chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy’s son Wednesday began the tour of East Godavari district to meet the farmers whose crops were damaged in recent rains.

Jagan, as the young leader is popularly known, is not only attracting huge crowds but also local leaders of the Congress.

That the ruling party is worried over the turn of events is evident from the meeting Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy had with two legislators Tuesday to persuade them not to sail with Jagan and even warned them of possible disciplinary action by the party high command.

One of the legislators, N. Sesha Reddy, told Kiran Kumar that his supporters were his ‘high command’ and he can’t go against their wish. Defying the party, he even received Jagan when the latter arrived in Rajahamundry town on Wednesday morning.

"I am ready to do whatever Jagan wants me to do. I am even ready to leave the party," the rebel legislator said.

Former minister and legislator P. Subhash Chandrabose was among several other party leaders who came out to receive the former Kadapa MP.

According to political analysts, Jagan, who quit the Congress and also as MP last month and announced his decision to float a new party in 45 days, is testing the waters by undertaking a tour of three districts in coastal Andhra.

Prominent Congress leaders in Krishna district were holding meetings to chalk out their future course of action as they were under pressure from their cadres to switch their loyalties to Jagan.

Buoyed by the public response in Guntur and Krishna districts in the last four days, Jagan has even announced that he would undertake a two-day fast from Dec 21 to demand the government to come to the rescue of farmers.

While resigning from the Congress to protest the ‘conspiracy’ by the leadership to divide his family, Jagan stated that he was leaving alone and would not do anything to topple the government.

However, by not asking his loyalist legislators to quit, the young leader is keeping the party confused about his strength.

He is believed to have the support of 18 to 20 legislators and his supporters are confident that the numbers will grow in the coming days.

Political analysts believe Jagan would wait to mobilise more support among legislators before making any move to destabilise the government.

The Congress has 156 legislators in the 294-member Andhra Pradesh assembly. It also has plans to take the support of Praja Rajyam Party (18 legislators) and Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (7) if Jagan pulls out 20-25 loyalists.(IANS)

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