Jagan Mohan away, his party feels the heat

Semi Column

The Supreme Court's dismissal of the bail petition of Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy on Thursday, with the direction that he can't re-apply for another four months, will reinforce the belief that he is the victim of a political vendetta by the Congress. And that the party in power at the Centre is ensuring that the popular Andhra leader remains behind bars to force him into a tie-up in the 2014 general election, in which the Congress is not expected to do well in the state.

In fact, soon after the denial of bail, the YSR Congress Party of Jagan Mohan Reddy stated that no party was untouchable to it, dropping enough hints for the Congress.

It's been almost a year since Jagan's arrest by the agency on May 27, 2012 in a disproprtionate arrests case. Jagan has said repeatedly that the Central Bureau of Investigation is delaying completing the investigation so as to keep him behind bars.

His absence is already affecting the YSR Congress Party. Infighting has started with staunch loyalists of Jagan's father, the late Y S R Rajasekhara Reddy, opposing the entry of new leaders and workers. In Warangal and Visakhapatnam districts, there have been instances of leaders and workers locking up offices and premises of each other. At public rallies addressed by Jagan's mother Y S Vijayalakshmi, factions have ended up squabbling in an attempt to outdo each in expressing support.

The entry of Telugu Desam Party leader and former opposition leader in the Legislative Council Dadi Virbhadhra Rao has particularly caused fissures. Rao was a bitter critic of YSR, and had co-authored a TDP book on alleged corruption during the YSR regime and how Jagan had expanded his business empire using his father's influence.

The task of preparing and carrying the YSR Congress Party into the 2014 elections has now fallen on Vijayalakshmi's shoulders. A few hours after the Supreme Court's order, she asserted that she was up to the task but hoped that Jagan would be out of jail by the time of the general elections.

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