New Delhi: Belligerent Congress leader from Andhra Pradesh YS Jaganmohan Reddy, who has been under fire for his anti-party activities, on Monday quit the Congress and as per reports will launch his own party ‘YSR Congress’.
His mother Vijayalakshmi, has also resigned as the party MLA from family pocket borough Pulivendula in Kadapa district.
In a day of deft political manoeuvring by Jaganmohan Reddy, who is the son of late Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Rajashekhara Reddy, first sent his resignation as Congress MP from Kadapa to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and then sent an open letter to party president Sonia Gandhi claiming that he was hurt by the decisions of the All India Congress Committee and that that he had no option but to resign.
He also announced that he is resigning from the party. In his letter to Sonia, he rued that ‘he was not treated with the respect he deserves’ and that the Congress was trying to create a rift within his family.
He also claimed that his father’s legacy is being hijacked by others and that he was not allowed to continue with his Odarpu Yatra.
However, Sakshi TV owned by him is telecasting footage showing the Telugu version of Jagan’s resignation letter.
Congress has responded with restraint with the party in-charge in the state Veerappa Moily only saying that Jagan’s decision to quit the party is “disappointing”.
However, the Congress seems to have its calculations in place in the eventuality of Jagan trying to destabilise the state government with the backing of around 20 MLAs who are said to be supporting him.
In the 294 seat Assembly, the Congress has 156 MLAs with 147 being the halfway mark. The Congress calculation seems to be that Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam Party with its 18 MLAs would support the government if the need arises.
Jagan Reddy had been under scanner for targeting Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and the central leadership through his TV channel Sakshi TV and blamed the “coterie around Sonia” responsible for the “sorry state of affairs in Congress.”
Though the Kadapa MP himself has not said anything directly against Sonia, Manmohan Singh or the Congress, Sakshi TV owned by him ran an hour-long special programme recently and targeted Sonia Gandhi’s leadership and “rapid degeneration” of the party under her.
Ever since Jagan was denied the chief minister’s post after his father YS Rajashekara Reddy’s death, Sakshi newspaper and television channel have been running stories severely criticising Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K Rosaiah and his government’s policies.
Jagan’s rival groups in the party, too, have been subjected to attacks in his media but this is for the first time that Sakshi chose to take on the Congress high command directly.
By appointing Kiran Kumar Reddy, the Congress high command has send a clear message that it will not succumb to Jagan’s alleged blackmail and that he will have to follow the party line if he is to continue with the party.