All eyes on Jaganmohan Reddy once again

Hyderabad, Sep 24 (IANS) Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, who walked free Tuesday after nearly 16 months in jail in disproportionate assets case, is once again the centre of attraction.

The YSR Congress party chief's release came at a time when Andhra Pradesh is passing through a political turmoil in the wake of Congress party's decision to carve out separate Telangana state.

With no stakes in Telangana, the MP from Kadapa will try to cash in on the 'samaikhya Andhra' or united Andhra sentiment in Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and Andhra regions) by joining people opposing the state's division.

Jagan, as the son of late chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy is popularly known, is expected to take court's permission to visit Seemandhra in a few days. In fact, he sought bail on the ground that he wants to be with the people when they are protesting.

Jagan was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) May 27 last year when he was campaigning in the by-elections. Now, as he walks free from jail, albeit on bail, the situation has completely changed with the July 30 decision of the Congress Working Committee (CWC).

Political observors say the 41-year-old will try to consolidate the party in Seemandhra. Both MPs and all 17 state legislators of the party have already submitted their resignations to oppose the CWC decision on creating a separate Telangana.

One of the richest politicians in the country with declared assets of Rs.365 crore, the young leader will once again be the centre of attention. He will resume attacking both the Congress and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) as he had been doing since launching his YSR Congress in 2010.

After the death of his father in a helicopter crash four years ago, Jagan was projected as the next chief minister by Rajasekhara Reddy's loyalists but they dumped him at the instance of Congress leadership.

The businessman-politician defied the Congress leadership and emerged as a crowd-puller when he embarked on the 'odarpu yatra' to console the families of those who reportedly died of grief after his father's death.

Within no time, he emerged as the third major political force in the state. Despite his arrest, the YSR Congress bagged one Lok Sabha seat and 15 of 18 assembly seats for which by-elections were held.

Even when he was in jail, about a dozen legislators of the Congress and the TDP called on him to switch loyalties. This made the leaders of both the parties to allege that Jagan has turned Chanchalguda Central Jail his party office and luring their legislators with money.

Jagan proved his relevance in the state politics in 2011 with his record-shattering win in Kadapa by-elections. He retained the seat with a majority of over five lakh votes.

The trouble for Jagan began in 2011 when the high court on a petition by a Congress leader directed the CBI to probe his assets. The CBI charged him with entering into a conspiracy with his father and then chief minister to dole out favours to various companies in return for the investments they made into his firms.

Jagan accused the Congress of vindictiveness. Jagan, who has interests in mining, cement, power generation and media, claimed that it was his hard-earned money and that he was a businessman much before he entered politics.

A graduate in commerce, he entered into business at a young age. He is married to Bharathi Reddy and has two daughters.

He launched a newspaper and TV channel in 2008 to further his political ambitions.

In 2009, he made his electoral debut by winning the Kadapa Lok Sabha seat. However, as he was learning the tricks of the trade from his father, the latter died in a helicopter crash.

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