Kadapa by-polls: Jagan's major political test

Four months after he quit the Congress, Y S Jaganmohan Reddy will face his first major political test in May when he contests the by-elections from his family pocket-borough of Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh. Jaganmohan, who won the seat with a huge margin on a Congress ticket in 2009, will face stiff competition from his former party, which is said to be contemplating to field his uncle and state minister Y S Vivekananda Reddy.

Kadapa Lok Sabha and Pulivendula Assembly segment, represented by Jaganmohan's mother Vijayalaxmi, will go to by-polls on May 8, the Election Commission announced in Delhi on Wednesday.

Son of late Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, the industrialist-turned-politician quit the Congress as well as his Lok Sabha seat on November 29 last year alleging that the party "humiliated" his family.

Political observers feel that a good show by Jagan in the by-elections will spell trouble for Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy as the rebel leader would try to go for the kill with the help of MLAs loyal to him.

When he quit the Congress in November last, Jagan's group claimed he enjoyed the support of at least 36 MLAs in the 294-member AP Assembly, a number good enough to dislodge the Kiran Kumar Reddy government.

Just weeks later, Jagan claimed during an agitation programme in New Delhi that the Kiran Kumar government was surviving only "at my mercy." Over 20 Congress MLAs participated in the protest.

"I am doing a favour to the Congress by not pulling down its government in Andhra Pradesh," he had claimed and maintained that he would let it continue its full term till 2014 as it came to power only because of his late father.

Political analysts are, however, unwilling to take Jagan's claims on face value as they aver that he would not be so "politically imprudent" to wait on the sidelines for another three years.

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