Will Jagan skip Telangana by-polls?

News pulse, Politics | admin | December 27, 2011 at 3:06 am

YSR Congress president YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has been very cautious about the Telangana [ Images ] issue. Although Telangana supporters believe that he is opposed to the idea of forming a separate state, he has never said it in as many words. His only major statement regarding the issue was during the convention of the YSR Congress party in which he said that a solution to the issue could only be provided by the ruling party. A lot regarding his stand on Telangana would depend on whether his party would contest the by-elections to be held in the region. There are six seats up for grabs, and all indications are that it is the Telangana Rastriya Samithi which would walk away as the winner.

The question is whether Jagan would put up a brave front and face the elections irrespective of a loss or would he just avoid it. His party members say that a lot would depend on the developments about to unfold in the days to come. If the Election Commission decides to conduct polls only at Telangana and Kovuru in Andhra, then Jagan could give it a skip and contest only the Kovuru seat.

A loss in Telangana is guaranteed for the YSR Congress party and they would not like to make a start in the state politics on such a pathetic note. However, Jagan cannot skirt this issue entirely and in case he decides not to contest Telangana by-poll, then he would send out an open message about his displeasure towards the issue of separate statehood. Party members close to Jagan say that the decision to take part in Telangana by-election would depend on the decision the Speaker would take regarding the 17 rebel Congress members of Legislative Assembly who voted against the Congress government in the recently held no-confidence motion.

What Jagan is hoping is that the Speaker takes a decision soon and disqualifies the 17 MLAs so that by-polls will be held in the 17 constituencies all of which are in Andhra and Rayalseema, the regions which Jagan has been targetting. Jagan is confident that he would be able to win all the 17 seats if by-polls are conducted. He is hopeful that if at all the Speaker acts soon, then the EC will be forced to announce by-elections not only in the six seats in Telangana but also in the 17+1 (Kovuru) seats in Andhra and Rayalseema.

His camp feels that they could take all the 18 seats easily and then even if they lose in Telangana the loss will look small. At the moment it is Telangana polls, but if the by-elections to the 18 seats are also announced together the focus would be more on these seats and it would look like a mini general election in Andhra Pradesh. The other question is whether Jagan would make a hard decision and stay away from Telangana with a view of targetting the voters in the rest of Andhra Pradesh. Jagan feels that as a final measure, the Congress may just hand over Telangana at the last moment before the assembly elections.

In such an event he would make this an issue and try and sweep the rest of Andhra Pradesh. If he decides to stay away from Telangana by-election, then he will lose this region completely, but could convey a message to the rest of the state contending that he decided to stay away as he feels those people are trying to split the state. Sources in the Jagan camp say that they would not announce anything regarding their decision on Telangana at the moment.

“It would be too early to say anything now considering the EC has not made any announcement regarding the dates. People have been advising us to stay away from the Telangana by-poll, but we would like to take some more time and then make a decision,” a YSR Congress source pointed out.

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