Andhra Pradesh

Exclusive : What will it take for Congress to get Jagan’s support

On 9 May, Filter Kaapi had reported on the Congress reaching out to the YSR Congress party in Andhra Pradesh. Senior leader from Kerala KV Thomas had spoken to YS Jaganmohan Reddy’s uncle, YV Subba Reddy who is the MP from Ongole though he did not contest this time. Reddy is also the party general secretary. 

During that conversation, Subba Reddy told Thomas that the YSRCP will prefer to wait till the results are announced on 23 May. Other leaders in the party did not seem to want to embrace the Congress but make it sweat. 

“Don’t forget, the party sent Jagan to jail,” a YSRCP leader had told Filter Kaapi

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But the Congress is not leaving anything to chance given reports that the BJP also is in touch with a YSRCP senior leader, both through its state unit and the central leadership.

Sources have told Filter Kaapi that a top industrialist from Andhra Pradesh and another politician who has a business background have been sent by the Congress to speak with Jagan and the YSRCP leadership. This outreach is also being coordinated by the chief minister of a Congress-ruled state. 

The feedback they have given back to the party is that Jagan is extremely cautious and does not wish to commit till the results are out in Andhra on 23 May. Even though most poll surveys have predicted a YSRCP victory, Jagan does not want to take any chances till the last EVM is accounted for.

Interestingly, even while the YSRCP is confident, the TDP is also ebullient, enthused by former Vijayawada MP Lagadapati Rajagopal’s survey that has predicted the return of Chandrababu Naidu. 

Two, Jagan has reiterated that there is no question of agreeing to support unless Special Category Status (SCS) assurance is given in writing. No verbal assurances will do for the YSRCP chief. 

On the campaign trail, Rahul Gandhi had promised to give SCS if the Congress came to power at the Centre. But the supplementary question that has been posed to the interlocuters is what happens if it is not a government in which the Congress is an active partner but a 1996 kind of arrangement. Will Gandhi be able to keep his promise then?

Three, the YSRCP has told the interlocuters that it is unlikely to go with the BJP because it does not wish to antagonise the minorities who have voted for the party. Moreover, even while Chandrababu Naidu was the BJP’s alliance partner, Narendra Modi did not agree to granting SCS and instead gave a special package. Jagan is not willing to compromise on SCS.

Four, it has been made clear to those talking on behalf of the Congress that any understanding with Jagan can take place only if there is no Chandrababu Naidu hovering around in Delhi. Naidu in the past year has emerged as the facilitator of an anti-BJP alliance and keeps in touch with Rahul Gandhi regularly. Should Jagan get better numbers than Naidu on Thursday, will the Congress agree to dump the Telugu Desam is the question.

Five, the YSRC leadership has reportedly expressed its angst at the Andhra unit of the Congress being staffed with leaders who are openly critical of Jagan. 

Vijayamma, Jaganmohan Reddy’s mother

Six, and this could be the most tricky pre-condition. The YSRCP leadership would like Sonia Gandhi to reach out to Jagan’s mother Vijayamma. The parting in 2009-10 after the demise of YS Rajasekhara Reddy was not very pleasant. Jagan has spoken about how he and his mother felt humiliated and led to his exit from the Congress.

During the election campaign, Jagan spoke about how he had forgiven the Congress but the party leadership, it would seem, would like a warm gesture to come right from the top to act as a balm over old wounds. 

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