Editorial

Editorial: Congress Party’s Andhra Puzzle

After the unfortunate demise of its Andhra stalwart YSR Reddy, the Congress party, which has enacted an impressive number of measures for ameliorating its image, could be heading for a compromise on its principles, set not very long ago. The puzzle is: rising demand to make YSR’s son YS Jaganmohan Chief Minister, though he is a naïve virtually without experience in administration and realpolitik.  Media reports have suggested that the Congress is thinking to induct him in union cabinet instead, with an aim to impart training and exposure before assigning bigger responsibilities, like chief minister’s.

The YSR shock that killed over hundred, the tens of thousands of people attending his funeral, the Andhra Congress MLAs and MLCs, in majority, pitching for Jagan to succeed his father, cannot be ignored. These are signs that Jagan has to be accommodated somewhere, either in the state as CM or at the centre. Otherwise, huge protest may follow and lead to factionism in the state Congress giving an upper hand to otherwise low-spirited Telugu Desham Party (TDP).

It might be difficult for the Congress to hand reins of Andhra to an inexperienced young man and pit him against stalwarts of state politics who can pull his leg at any opportune time.

Furthermore, Congress insiders believe that choice of anybody else besides Jagan as next Andhra CM could, too, mean allowing the party to divide into groups again, to the advantage of the TDP.

One hand, it might be difficult for the Congress to hand reins of Andhra to an inexperienced young man and pit him against stalwarts of state politics who can pull his leg at any opportune time and the party might meet the similar fate as mentioned above. And, on the other, it is equally difficult to ignore the demand.

Young Jagan, who nurtured political ambitions despite YSR’s strong will to keep his family members out of politics, should also be taken into account. Secondly, the Reddys, merely 5% of total voters of the state though, wouldn’t like the idea of forgoing the predominating clout they have on state politics. The strong lobbying for Jagan is a joint outcome of the two.

Suppose Congress manages a power sharing arrangement in the state with someone senior taking over as CM and Jagan being inducted into the Union Cabinet for probation. It’s a no-solution, as well. Immediately after Lok Sabha elections, there were lobbying by many first time MPs for ministerial berth which High Command rejected arguing that first timers would not be inducted as a rule. Jagan is also a first timer.

So, will Congress violate its own rule in this particular case, sowing seeds of dissidence among other ambitious first timers, and will undo its all image betterment measures? Anyway, solving this puzzle may be a hard nut to crack for Congress.

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