Jagan grapples with problem of plenty as he seeks first-mover advantage ahead of polls

February 21, 2024 10:13 am | Updated 12:29 pm IST - Vijayawada

All hands on deck: While the CM has personally reached out to some disgruntled leaders, he has also put YSRCP general secretary Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy on the job.

All hands on deck: While the CM has personally reached out to some disgruntled leaders, he has also put YSRCP general secretary Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy on the job. | Photo Credit: ANI

With Andhra Pradesh heading into a general as well as State election months from now, the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) has sought to gain first-mover advantage. The Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy-led party leadership has already released seven lists so far and announced in-charges – presumptive candidates – for 68 of the total 175 Assembly constituencies and 16 of the 25 Lok Sabha constituencies in the State.

While the principal Opposition party, the N. Chandrababu Naidu-led Telugu Desam Party (TDP), has remained tight-lipped on its plans so far, it is learnt to be inclined towards returning to the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance. Negotiations between the two parties are at an advanced stage, and according to BJP sources, it has demanded six Lok Sabha seats and 20 Assembly seats from the TDP, while Pawan Kalyan’s Jan Sena Party wants three Lok Sabha seats in what could emerge as a three-way alliance.

While the 2019 Assembly election became a five-way contest between the YSRCP, TDP, BJP, and JSP, alliances have assumed heightened importance this time around because of the Congress also getting a shot in the arm with Y.S. Sharmila, Mr. Jagan’s sister, merging her Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Telangana Party with the Congress and being named as the latter’s Andhra Pradesh unit chief last month.

Reiterating his resolve to ensure a “clean sweep” for YSRCP in the general election in Andhra Pradesh, the Chief Minister has exhorted the party cadre to do everything possible to register a win in all the 175 Assembly constituencies. He framed the two forthcoming elections as a “fight between the credibility of the YSRCP and the deceit of the TDP”, describing himself as “Arjuna fighting the Mahabharata war against the demonic forces led by the TDP and JSP”.

Discontent in party

Mr. Jagan’s ambition is, however, running into headwinds in the form of disgruntled sitting parliamentarians, legislators and party leaders who are either not getting party tickets or are being moved away from their pocket boroughs.

Also Read | Andhra Pradesh CM Jagan says waging a lone battle has been common for me

Three sitting MPs have quit the YSRCP after the rejig of party in-charges for Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies – Narasaraopet MP Lavu Srikrishna Devarayalu, Kurnool MP Sanjeev Kumar and Machilipatnam MP Vallabhaneni Balashowry, all citing personal reasons.

Party sources said MPs Adala Prabhakar Reddy (Lok Sabha) and Vemireddy Prabhakar Reddy (Rajya Sabha) might not contest on the YSRCP symbol. At least 10 sitting party legislators are also said to be unhappy as well after the party leadership conveyed to them internal survey reports that indicated that their winning prospects were dim. The grapevine has it that more sitting MPs or MLAs are likely to jump ship.

Sources said that while the Chief Minister is personally speaking to some of the leaders, YSRCP general secretary Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy and others have also been instructed to talk to the disgruntled sitting MLAs and party leaders. Senior leaders are assuring them that their services would be recognised even they have been denied poll tickets.

With the dissidence among the party MLAs and leaders over the appointment of new coordinators for Assembly constituencies refusing to die down, the YSRCP is redoubling its firefighting efforts.

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