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Updated: January 12, 2011 09:46 IST

Congress to go slow on twin challenges

Smita Gupta
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Police arrive to arrest former Congress MP, Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy during his fast to highlight the
Police arrive to arrest former Congress MP, Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy during his fast to highlight the "injustice" to Andhra Pradesh in the recent Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal award.

Does not want to act against the 24 MLAs who accompanied Jaganmohan to Delhi

Publicly, the Congress tried to play down the former MP, Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy's show of strength here on Tuesday, saying it posed no threat to the party government in Andhra Pradesh at all. “There has been no threat to the Congress in the past, nor is there any in the present, nor will there be in the future,” party spokesman Manish Tiwari said.

But, privately, the leadership expressed concern at Mr. Reddy taking his battle — accompanied by 24 party MLAs, two MPs and three MLCs — with the Congress into the national capital. Especially as this is one of the party's two major problems in Andhra Pradesh, the other being the ongoing Telangana agitation, in which many Congress MPs are involved.

The leadership has, therefore, instructed its members, Congress sources said, “not to issue statements one way or the other,” even as an informal panel of top leaders has been asked to try and talk to the various players in the State to see if the damage caused by Mr. Reddy to the party and the Telangana agitation can be minimised.

The “informal” panel, according to the sources, consists not just of Union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily, who is also the general secretary in charge of Andhra Pradesh, but also Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. Mr Azad, who held charge of Andhra Pradesh in the past, is increasingly being fielded as a troubleshooter.

The party sources stressed that the leadership, as of now, did not want to take action against the 24 MLAs who have accompanied Mr. Reddy to Delhi. For, expulsion would not just suit them, it would reduce the Kiran Kumar Reddy government to a minority, sending it scrambling for support from the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen and the Praja Rajyam Party.

But, clearly, there is some “softening” towards Jagan. Asked whether a patch-up was possible at this stage, a party functionary said, “A patch-up with Jagan is possible only if he gets off his high horse.”

Jagan, who has been on a collision course with the Congress leadership ever since it rejected his claim to the chief ministerial chair after his father, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, died in a helicopter crash on September 2, 2009, applied to the Election Commission last week to register his new political party.

Meanwhile, the leadership — of both the Congress and the government — has been in touch with Mr. Kiran Kumar Reddy and Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan, who were in the capital recently. While the party is depending on the new Chief Minister to bring things under control, it also feels that the Governor, who was formerly Director, Intelligence Bureau, will be useful in dealing with the Telangana agitation. The Union government is clearly in no hurry to make a pronouncement on that, and the Srikrishna Committee's preference for a united Andhra Pradesh with a Telangana Regional Council remains the favoured option in Delhi.

Another view

Interestingly, while the party leadership's line currently is to “go slow” on the twin problems in Andhra Pradesh, there is another view among senior leaders in the State. This view is that the problems need to be dealt with firmly: “The party should issue a show-cause notice to the two MPs and the 24 MLAs and call their bluff. We shouldn't worry about precipitating an election, because I have serious doubts whether these rebels can win their seats again on a YSR party ticket. The fact is the whole Jagan campaign is being fuelled by vast amounts of money, but it is not having any impact on the ground. Let me tell you, these MLAs actually don't want to leave the Congress.”

The party, these sources said, cannot afford to “dilly-dally” as it did when Jagan flouted the leadership's diktat on his yatra. “The party displayed its weakness by not acting in time, and we are suffering as a consequence.”

Indeed, the role of money power in the Congress' two–headed crisis in Andhra Pradesh is causing concern here in Delhi as well. A functionary said: “Choke off the Bellary brothers and our problems might just disappear.”

The Congress faces a leadership vacuum in the state and this is the price the party has to pay for patronising sycophants who have no connect with the masses. Unfortunately, at the centre too there is no one who has a feel of the pulse in the state. As a result the party finds itself on the brink with the state cabinet reduced to a minority for all practical purposes. In this situation, continued drift will harm the interests of the party as well as the state. Both problems require a strong and decisive leadership but the moot point is whether there is anyone in the party who can provide that including Sonia and Rahul.

from:  Y Srinivas
Posted on: Jan 15, 2011 at 17:39 IST

Two important issues that needs quick action by Congress: Start a probe against the ill wealth that Jagan got during his father's regime. Choke the money lines. He will comedown and his MLAs will comeback to Congress. Announce the decision on Telangana quickly following the best option given by the committee. Committee did scientific excercise. People are emotionally attached to the word Telangana. Many people's voices are stopped by the TRS and its cadre. Many people who oppose formation of Telangana are not able to voice freely for fear of attacks. We see the instigations of TRS and other self appointed JAC leaders and supporters to threaten the opposing voices or even the neutral voices. The byelections held there are indication. You can analyze the vote share between Congress, TDP and TRS, when people were emotionally charged by the TRS. Many people still voted for Congress and TDP. TRS won but we cannot ingore other voters. All these votes were against formation of Telangana. You cannot deprive or supress their voices by declaring Telangana state. Telangana will go into the hands of naxallites and the gun culture will destroy the peoples livelihood. Congress has to take risks by taking the decisions.

from:  Ramchandra
Posted on: Jan 15, 2011 at 10:12 IST

Choke off Jagan's money and many problems will be solved. It will not only stop him in his tracks but will also send a very strong signal to all the other corrupt politicians - you can lose your money faster than you have earned it.

from:  Vijay Bharat
Posted on: Jan 13, 2011 at 19:17 IST

TDP or Jagan or TRS but we need stable governance in Andhra Pradesh. Congress 'high command' has hit its 'self-destruct' button because they were listening to sycophants (namely Hanumantha Rao, Keshava Rao, DL Ravindra Reddy etc) and by delaying a decision on Telangana, Congress is creating a havoc in Andhra Pradesh. Post YSR's death, Congress has become a nuisance and needs to be weeded out of Andhra Pradesh because they lack knowledge about Andhra Pradesh grass roots. Kiran Kumar Reddy and Rosiah are people who cannot win an election on their own so what good are they are for Andhra Pradesh?

from:  Santosh
Posted on: Jan 12, 2011 at 22:37 IST

Promotion of the dyanastic rule in the Congress party ignoring the democratic ethos of the country has come back to haunt the promoters. Can anyone in the Congress party, the leaders or the led, honestly protest against the dynastic ambitions of YSR's son?

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Jan 12, 2011 at 17:47 IST

Actually Congress is trapped in it's own net. And due to that it has to face the dual challenge. Had the matter of 2G auction been solved at the time of allocation with sufficient control on the ministers, Congress wouldn't have suffered so much till now in this matter. It's ministers got corrupted more and more and at last it resulted into such a situation in which there is question of trust of Indians on the party. Congress should take strong action against them so that they may prove that there is no place of corruption in the party.

from:  Manish
Posted on: Jan 12, 2011 at 14:44 IST

The congress better give Telangana or else if the state is united Jagan will topple it and the congress wont get more than 25 seats like in 1994 and not even 1 mp seat in2014. If it gives Telangana it can remain in power atleast there. In Andhra most of the party is going to Jagan and at least they can limit the damage to Andhra and in the new state all equations will change. They depend too much on Ghulam Nabi and the latest mess is his creation. Everyone wants to be AP incharge bwcause they can easily make 100s of crores.

from:  Babblloo
Posted on: Jan 12, 2011 at 13:00 IST

Both the problems are of Congress' own doing. One because of a hasty announcement and another because of the sycophancy that Congress is infamous for. Congress' suffering would be more intense if it goes slow on both these problems. It has to act now otherwise they'd be repenting it sooner than later.

from:  Nikhil
Posted on: Jan 12, 2011 at 10:22 IST

The Congress party current situation is between the devil (Jaganmohan Reddy) and deep sea (Telangana). The party cannot sit on these twin bombs for longer time. More delay in decision making will add more misery. The Congress has to take calculated risk. Telangana is historically inevitable. Congress cannot go on and on with its promise on Telangana. It will ruin party's image as well as business prospects of Hyderabad.

from:  Hanmireddy
Posted on: Jan 12, 2011 at 09:54 IST
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