By T S Sudhir
The inevitable has happened. Jagan can blame it on karma because what his father, the late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy tried to do with the TRS in 2009, is coming back to haunt him. One of his MPs, SPY Reddy from Nandyal has quit the YSR Congress to join the Telugu Desam within ten days of being elected and another one, Butta Renuka from Kurnool will follow suit in a few hours time. Already her husband has stood surety for her switch, by joining the TDP in Chandrababu Naidu’s presence in Delhi today.
Ever since Jagan’s party tasted defeat on May 16, this was waiting to happen. It was easy too as YSR Congress is not a recognised party and only a registered party. Therefore the anti-defection law does not apply to its MPs and MLAs. TDP sources claim many more MLAs – ambitiously pegged at 30 – are in touch with TDP to turn a shade of yellow, the TDP colour. YSR Congress can at best taunt the turncoats by calling them “yellow yellow, dirty fellow”.
The desertions also highlight the complete lack of ethics among modern-day politicians and disrespect to the mandate given by their voters. Clearly Reddy and Renuka couldn’t care less, since 2019 is a long way off. Interestingly, SPY Reddy has played a game of political musical chairs in the last one year, jumping from the Congress to the YSR Congress just months before the elections and now exiting the party `Reddy, steady, go’ mode. A rolling politician gathers no moss, must be Reddy’s mantra.
One reason for the quick switch could be the backgrounds Reddy and Renuka come from. The world of business is bothered only about the bottomline and little else. Reddy owns Nandi Pipes and he would not like to be on the wrong side of the powers-that-be. Renuka’s family has interests in textiles, education and jewellery business, with a chain of showrooms in each sector to boast of. Renuka also owns the Meridian Corporate school in Hyderabad, a prestigious institution. Representing an opposition party will serve little purpose.
The defection reveals the TDP gameplan with regard to Jagan. Weaken him politically by reducing his numbers and use its clout at the Centre to get the Enforcement Directorate after him. Jagan in jail will make it easier for Naidu to almost finish off the YSR Congress outside. Naidu has got back his chair after a gap of ten years and is in no mood to let Jagan breathe down his neck as a powerful opposition. The Congress is already a zero, both literally and metaphorically in Seemandhra and Naidu will hope to rule the roost by splitting the opposition vote in Andhra Pradesh between these two weak outfits.