Will Jagan learn his lesson?

By G Nagaraja | THE HANS INDIA |   Aug 29,2017 , 02:06 AM IST


Nandyal: The voter in Nandyal byelection was expected to deliver a verdict over the three-year rule of the TDP. But it turned out to be the other way round with its landslide victory bringing under question the performance of YSRCP leader YS Jaganmohan Reddy as the Leader of Opposition.

The TDP ranks obviously burst into jubilation across the state, interpreting the results as a sign for the party to be in the saddle of power for another spell in 2019 general elections.

However, the mood in the opposition camp suggests that the YSRCP is unlikely to get into soul-searching and draw a lesion or two from its crushing defeat, thanks to the unilateral style of functioning of its leader. 

The tone and tenor of the leaders from the YSRCP after the result indicated that its leadership is seemingly drawing comfort from the bruises just by blaming the rival party. 

Given the voter profile, Nandyal was never considered to be a cakewalk for the TDP. All the numerically dominant caste groups of Reddys, Muslims and Malas, a sub-caste in the Scheduled Castes, are inimical to the ruling party.

That was the reason why its candidate at that time Silpa Mohan Reddy lost to the YSRC nominee Bhuma Nagi Reddy with a wafer-thin margin of 3,700 votes. The huge margin of 27,466 votes with which the TDP won upset the predictions of pre-poll surveys and election strategists.

This ostensibly became possible only with the shifting of Reddys, who were identified with the Jagan’s YSRCP, Muslims and partly Mals away from the latter’s fold.

The Reddy community, a politically powerful and dominant community in Rayalaseema, remained out of power for three years for its strategic folly of siding with its fellow caste man Jagan in the previous election.  

It is understood that the community sought to buy peace with the TDP up to the next elections at least by throwing their weight behind the ruling party.

The Jagan’s election-eve call to the people to `shoot Chandrababu dead’ at a rally appeared to have taken a serious toll on his party’s electoral prospects especially in middle class sections.

To one’s chagrin, he made a similar call the next day to “hang Naidu in public”. There appeared no traces of regrets from Jagan even as his party men failed to digest the comments.

Instead, Jagan’s associates attributed the win to alleged distribution of money, sarees and nose rings to voters by the ruling party without giving any scope for an inward looking.

“The election highlights a slew of our handicaps which included lack of a strong down-the-line organizational apparatus as is the case with the TDP; our leader addressed only the public without connecting to voters representing political class”, observers a senior YSRC leader.

Another second rung leader in the party expressed the wish that the result will prompt Jagan to do self-criticism and prepare the party for the next election.

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