Andhra Pradesh: Why MLC election result is a wake-up call for Jagan

Andhra Pradesh: Why MLC election result is a wake-up call for Jagan

Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy’s ambitious plan to “sweep the 2024 Assembly Election” in Andhra Pradesh seems to have suffered a huge jolt.

Amid his claim to win all the 175 seats in the state, YSR Congress (YSRC) suffered a setback in the politically-significant segments in biennial elections held for the AP Legislative Council on March 13 and March 23.

YSRC MLAs voted for TDP’s nominee in LC elections

In the election held on Thursday (March 23) under MLAs’ quota, Jagan’s own MLAs ditched the party to vote for TDP nominee Panchumarti Anuradha.

The election was held for seven vacancies under the MLAs’ quota. YSR Congress which has a strength of 156 MLAs in a house of 175 fielded seven candidates, while the TDP with 19 MLAs had also entered the fray.

Also read: In Telangana, Chandrababu ignites anti-Andhra fire with rice vs millet talk

 A candidate requires 22 votes to win the election. Given its strength, YSRC should have cornered all the seats. However, the party won only six seats. The seventh candidate was defeated by TDP’s Anuradha who sprang a surprise by securing 23 votes, four votes more than its strength, which indicates cross-voting in favour of TDP from YSRC.

The talk that many more MLAs are ready to defy their own chief minister in the future is rattling the YSRC.

TDP springs a surprise by winning Graduates’ constituencies

This unpleasant development took place close on the heels of TDP pulling off a stunning victory in three crucial elections held for Graduates’ Constituencies of the Legislative Council, namely Rayalaseema (West), Rayalaseema (East), and North Andhra, all politically-sensitive regions.

Taking by surprise even the TDP, about 9 lakh graduates spreading across 108 Assembly constituencies in 9 districts rejected YSRC candidates in favour of the TDP, in the election held on March 13. The results were out on March 16.

Elections to the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council were held in two rounds. In the first round, polling was held to elect MLCs from eight local bodies’ constituencies, three graduates’ constituencies, and two teachers’ constituencies. In the second round, polling was held on March 23 to elect seven MLCs under the MLAs’ quota.

Also read: Andhra Pradesh to construct 3,000 temples to “preserve Hindu faith”

The elections under the local bodies’ constituencies are of little importance as they are already under the control of the YSRC with its own councillors and corporators. So the YSRC swept the polls.

Observers opine that the result from the graduates’ constituencies is alone politically significant as it reveals the mood among the youth who are unaffiliated to any party.

In Rayalaseema East and West, which includes CM Jagan’s own constituency Pulivendula, the graduates chose to overwhelmingly vote for the TDP, ignoring the CM’s assurance to make Kurnool the judicial capital of the state.

Rayalaseema region ignored

The people of Rayalaseema have been fighting for a legitimate share of water from River Krishna and more funds for its projects, but the government is not serious about it. With meagre allocations, the recent budget belied their hopes.

Similarly, Jagan’s promise of elevating coastal Vizag city as the capital of Andhra Pradesh, and the recent investment summit where 352 MoUs worth ₹1.17 lakh crore investments with a potential of 6 lakh jobs were signed, failed to enthuse the North Andhra graduates. They also favoured the TDP.

Also read: Investors summit deals will create 6 lakh plus jobs: Andhra Pradesh CM

YSRC has brushed this aside as inconsequential. “All these graduates are not beneficiaries of our welfare programs. They make up an insignificant fraction of the total electorate and they do not reflect the pulse of the total state. No way the result is a wake-up call to YSRC,” claimed Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy, advisor to the Government and Jagan’s key aide.

Election results indicative of unemployed graduates’ frustration

However, veteran commentator and activist Vallam Reddy Lakshamna Reddy said the graduates had exposed the chinks in the government’s armoury, and the election was comparable to a perfect opinion poll on the government with a large sample size.

“On the one side, there have been no jobs in the government for four years. The job calendar CM Jagan announced has never been pursued. The private sector has failed to generate employment. On the other, government employees are unhappy and on the warpath. The graduates’ election result is the reflection of this frustration. The government cannot afford to ignore the verdict of 9 lakh voters,” he told The Federal.

Also read: A vigorous farmers’ movement grips Andhra’s Rayalaseema

Trouble in YSRC apparently began with reports leaked to the media that as many as 40 MLAs are unlikely to be fielded in the 2024 election. The names were reportedly identified based on a survey conducted by I-PAC on the performance of the MLAs. Causing heartburn among the MLAs, the agency is said to have suggested alternative names to overcome the alleged local anti-incumbency.

‘Disconnect between CM Jagan and his MLAs’

On the other hand, MLAs and MPs are disillusioned with the leadership. Many allege CM Jagan has confined himself to the inaugurations, distribution of freebies, and review meetings, leaving the administration to his advisor and party general secretary Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy. The charge that Sajjala has become a wall between the CM and the MLAs is ubiquitous.

According to the veteran commentator V Sankariah, there is a clear disconnect between the CM and the MLAs at one level and the party workers and the MLAs at another, causing a rupture in the YSRC. The cadre feels the MLAs are powerless, and refuse to meet them, said a leader who doesn’t want his name to be quoted.

‘Growing dissidence in YSRC’

 “I am told there are at least 100 MLAs who have not met the CM yet since they got elected.  At the constituency level, the government volunteers wield more authority than the MLAs. This gulf between the MLAs and the CM appears to have resulted in growing dissidence in the party which in turn led the MLAs to ditch the party in the MLC elections. More dissidents and disasters will surface if CM Jagan continues to ignore MLAs, MPs, and Ministers,” said Sankaraiah.

On the other side, TDP is celebrating the windfall of the council elections. “The results of graduates’ elections are a sign of change in the near future. This augurs well for the state and the people,” TDP president Naidu tweeted.

Read More
Next Story