Jagan Mohan Reddy is one of the young maverick political leaders of 21st century India who has taken a rightful stance against the dubious motives and political roles of the Congress government. The son of the legendary Chief Minister of Andhara Pradesh Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, Jagan began his career as a businessman in 1999 by establishing a tiny power company in Sandur in the neighbouring state of Karnataka and then expanding it to the north-eastern states. When his father became the Chief Minister in 2004 his career also rose by leaps and bounds and he started venturing into many other businesses such as cement plants, infrastructure and media.
Jagan’s political ambition was first revealed when in late 2004 he first aspired to become an MP from his home district Kadapa, formerly Cuddapah, in Rayalseema, a region of the south-central part of Andhra Pradesh as a member of the Indian National Congress. But Congress did not approve him to be the MP at that point of time which resulted in his failure. His father’s tragic death in a helicopter crash in September 2009 literally changed everything for Jagan. He wanted to succeed his late father to be the next Chief Minister but Congress turned a deaf ear to his rightful demands despite a majority of the legislators rallying behind him. The flashpoint came in November 2010 when the Congress made N. Kiran Kumar Reddy the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh in place of K. Rosaiah in an ostensible bid to effectively counter Jagan. Being disillusioned by the Congress’s double standards, he quit on 29 November 2010 and walked out of the party which his father loyally served for three decades, and also resigned from his Lok Sabha membership. In March 2011, Jagan announced the setting up of his own party named Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress (YSR Congress) throwing a challenge at Congress and also at Telegu Desam Party (TDP). He won the by-election to Kadapa Lok Sabha seat with a record margin of over five lakh votes in May 2011 while his mother Y.S. Vijaya won the Pulivendu Assembly seat in an emphatic fashion.
On 27 May 2012 Jagan was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a disproportionate assets case. The next day he was sent to judicial
custody by a special CBI court. After the electoral success in the polls, the YSR Congress is all set to campaign for the
release of its President on bail. He is
currently lodged in Chanchalguda jail.
From behind the bars where he is lodged in a case of suspected corruption involving amassing of illegal assets, the 40-year-old founder of YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) took on both the ruling Congress and the opposition TDP, sending alarm bells ringing in the rival camps ahead of the 2014 assembly elections. It has been a widespread idea among different levels of political analysts that Jagan has been a threat to the Congress party for long. His father Y.S.R. Reddy had toyed with the idea of creating a new party out of Congress, but Jagan actually gave it a shape and threw the gauntlet at the Congress’s hegemony which had deprived the people of Andhra for a long time from their rightful leader. The arrest of Jagan by CBI has been seen as a ploy by the Congress so that they continue their stronghold in Andhra. But Jagan’s political career and popularity actually backfired Congress’s each and every move and it seems that they have become so insecure about their own stance about the 2014 elections that they have been using the CBI to make false allegations against him. CBI has become a mere instrument for the Congress to use under the veil of their political agenda so that they can maintain their dominance in the state and in a way in South India.
The strategic mistake that Congress made was to ostracise Jagan from the party and making him an enemy rather than an ally. With Jagan’s exit Congress is likely to lose majority Reddy votes in Rayalaseema. He also enjoys enormous
financial clout and runs a huge media
empire. If he launches a new party, it might unseat the Congress. The Congress has 156 MLAs in Andhra Assembly. If
30-40 party MLAs go with Jagan, as he has been claiming, then the Congress
government in Andhra will collapse. Andhra Assembly has 294 MLAs and the halfway mark is 148. Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyan Party has 18 MLAs while MIM has 7, and is likely to support the Congress. The Telugu Desam Party has 91 MLAs,
Telangana Rashtra Samithi 11, Bharatiya Janata Party 2, CPI 4, CPI-M 1, CPI-ML 1 and Independents 3. So the position of Congress is evidently very weak in Andhra Pradesh according to the aforesaid statistics which does not seem very fruitful for the party in the 2014 elections.
Both Congress and TDP are still in a dilemma whether a Jagan in jail is more dangerous for them than a Jagan outside the jail. The dilemma is double for the Congress that has no clue on how to tackle Jagan without targeting the late YSR as the CBI see the father-son criminal conspiracy behind Jagan amassing illegal wealth.