The Congress has reason to be worried over its recent byelection debacles in Andhra Pradesh, the party’s bastion till 2009. The last three years have witnessed drastic alterations in the state’s political equations, with bete noire Jagan Reddyemerging as a frontline challenger to the Congress. The recent byelection results in 18assembly seats and one Lok Sabha constituency offer strong evidence of Andhra’s mutating politics that will impact the next state as well as general elections.
It is probable that Jagan’s arrest by the CBI in a disproportionate assets case won him additional sympathy as Y S Rajashekhara’s ‘wronged’ legatee. By making fresh gains in districts like Nellore, Guntur and West Godavari, YSR Congress has proven its ability to expand beyond its core areas. Considering that the Congress’s stellar 2009 electoral performance in Andhra Pradesh had contributed greatly to the UPA victory, this poll outcome will set alarm bells ringing in the party. But its short-term task is to stem a tide of legislators defecting to the YSR Congress. If it can’t do so the stability of the Kiran Reddy government – which has a razor-thin majority of 154 in the 294-member state assembly – is in immediate peril. It all depends on Jagan as many as 20 MLA’s of Congress are ready to resign waiting for Jagan’s word. At last congress government is on Jagan’s mercy.