With party president Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy serving what looks like an indefinite jail term, the absence of a sound second-rung leadership, organisational setup, and lack of link between other leaders and the masses could hit YSR Congress hard, according to insiders.
Though there are committees at various levels, including the Central Governing Council (CGC), most party affairs have till date been managed by Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy and Y.V. Subba Reddy, close confidants of Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy.
Leaders from both CGC and other state-level committees meet very rarely and have till now followed the directions issued by these two leaders, according to insiders.
There hardly ever was any discussion on feedback received from party units on ground-level issues, they said. But Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy’s arrest in the illegal investments case could give rise to a system of accountability to various committees, party leaders said.
And while the party’s honorary president Y.S. Vijayalakshmi has taken charge of campaigning in her son’s absence, top leaders are sceptical that she she would review party activities on a regular basis as she has never been in the thick of action.
One CGC member said, “Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy’s jail term is a setback for the party. No other party suffers such major drawbacks (in terms of paucity of leaders with real connect with the people). We need an arrangement where party activities will sustain for the next two years.”
Another CGC member said, “We should not have given a bandh call after Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy’s arrest since we do not have the organisational backup to organise a bandh and make it successful. There was no meeting and it was not a collective decision. The bandh was (suddenly) announced and we followed it due to the respect toward the two confidants of Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy.”
According to the CGC member, other leaders had no reply when rivals questioned the lack of response to the bandh even after the arrest of a leader of Jagan Reddy’s stature.