Why Jagan’s Party Wont Contest in Telangana

Was the YSR Congress making a virtue out of necessity when it announced Friday that it would not contest the seven upcoming byelections in Telangana? Surveys conducted in these constituencies indicate that the YSR Congress is nowhere in the reckoning, including in Parkal where J camp MLA Konda Surekha, who has submitted her resignation, is likely to be a candidate.

Going by current trends, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) is comfortably placed in five constituencies: Kollapur, Adilabad, Station Ghanpur, Kamareddy and Parkal. Of the remaining two, the Congress is marginally ahead in Mahbubnagar, where the Independent incumbent R Rajeswar Reddy died� recently. Rajeshwar Reddy was an associate member of the Congress, and the Congress is likely to bag the seat if his widow agrees to be its nominee. In Nagarkurnool, erstwhile TDP MLA Nagam Janardhan Reddy, who left his party to fight for separate statehood for Telangana, is way ahead even if the TRS puts up a candidate here.

Reading between the lines, it becomes apparent that those who left the Congress or TDP and joined the TRS in support of statehood for Telangana are enjoying popular backing. This ranges from about 45 per cent in Kollapur to more than 6o per cent in Station Ghanpur. Minister Jupalli Krishna Rao (Kollapur) and S Rajaiah (Station Ghanpur) resigned from the Congress while Jogu Ramanna (Adilabad) and Gampa Goverdhan (Kamareddy) are defectors from the TDP.

But similar public support is lacking for Konda Surekha in Parkal. Her resignation from the Assembly is seen more in support of Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy rather than the Telagana cause. If the elections were held now, she is expected to get a little over 20 per cent vote while the TRS nominee is tipped for over 45 per cent.

The survey also brings to the fore the point that the Telangana sentiment is still strong though not as pronounced as in 2010 when Congress and TDP candidates lost their deposits in most of the 12 byelections that took place. Both Congress and TDP are expected to put up a relatively better performance this time round.

Sources in the Jagan camp revealed that apart from the unlikelihood of victory, a few other factors were considered before deciding to sit out the upcoming bypolls in Telangana. One, Jagan intends to launch his Odarpu Yatra in the region in March and he hopes that his opting out of the contest will earn him some goodwill.

Two, his party would have to declare its stance on the statehood issue if it contests the Telangana bypolls. That could prove tricky considering that Jagan has bigger stakes in Coastal and Rayalaseema from where a good number of his loyalists will face elections if their disqualification goes through. [Express News Service]

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