Hyderabad, Sep 27 (IANS) YSR Congress party leader Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy, who was released after 16 months in prison this week, is all set to intensify the ongoing movement in Seemandhra against the proposed bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
With a clear stand in support of 'samaikyandhra', or united Andhra, the young leader is likely to seize the initiative and emerge as a frontrunner in Seemandhra, as Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions are together known. Jagan, as the MP from Kadapa is popularly called, will be returning to the political trail after being out of the public eye because of his alleged involvement in a case of suspected corruption.
As the court, while granting bail, has directed Jagan not to leave Hyderabad without permission, the young leader has filed a petition seeking its nod to visit Kadapa and Guntur districts in the first week of October.
Jagan, whose return has already boosted the morale of the party cadre, is expected to go all out to use his first public appearance after a long time to strengthen the party in Seemandhra.
Jagan's release and his decision to plunge into the 'samaikyandhra' agitation have already sent the alarm bells ringing in both Congress and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) camps. Already feeling the heat of the ongoing protests, the leaders from the Congress and the TDP, including MPs and state legislators, may switch loyalties to the YSR Congress.
About a dozen legislators of the ruling and the main opposition parties had joined the YSR Congress even when Jagan was in jail. They know that a free Jagan may be more dangerous for them.
The YSR Congress hopes many fence-sitters may take a plunge once Jagan hits the roads in Seemandhra, where government employees, students and other sections of people have been continuing their protests for nearly two months.
"YSR Congress is the only party in the state which has not only taken a clear stand against the decision to divide the state but is joining the people in the fight to keep the state united," said party leader Shobha Nagi Reddy.
She claimed that unlike the Congress and the TDP, who are playing gimmicks over the issue, the YSR Congress has shown its sincerity. Shoba pointed out that both MPs of the party and all 17 state legislators have not only submitted their resignations but are also pressing for their acceptance.
The YSR Congress is accusing its rivals of playing a double game on the issue to fool the people of Seemandhra. Its leaders point out that the TDP sent a letter to the centre declaring its support to the demand for Telangana state and this paved the way for the decision to divide the state.
After floating the YSR Congress in 2010, Jagan had taken an ambiguous stand on Telangana by stating that the centre should respect the sentiments of people of all regions while taking a decision. The July 30 decision of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) however forced the party to take a calculated risk. It has now accused the Congress of taking a decision without ensuring justice to all regions.
Its top leaders in Telangana quit the party to protest what they called a U-turn on Telangana. Political observers say Jagan, who was active in working out the party strategies even behind bars, decided to go for 'samaikyandhra' as he realized that he has virtually no stakes in Telangana.
As he hails from the Rayalaseema region and as a Congress MP had stood up in the Lok Sabha to protest against the centre's Dec 9, 2009, decision to carve out a Telangana state, he is always seen as 'anti-Telangana' leader in the region.
The son of late chief minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, who was also opposed to the state's division, decided to take a clear stand on both the Congress and the TDP, which remain divided on the issue along regional lines.
(Mohammed Shafeeq can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)