HYDERABAD: After months of suspense Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar on Wednesday accepted the resignation of Nellore MP Mekapati Rajamohan Reddy, a Congress elected rep who has been harbouring cross-party loyalty to Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress.
The MP had resigned his seat along with 17 Congress MLAs in support of Jagan Mohan Reddy late last year. The 17 MLAs’ fate still hangs in the balance with AP Assembly speaker N Manohar having initiated disqualification hearings against them.
There were strong indications Wednesday that the disqualification of these MLAs are round the corner, thereby entailing byelections
to their seats. These signals were provided by none other than chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy when he said in the Assembly that he has 25 byelections to contend with.
The chief minister’s remark, which came during his intervention in the discussion on the budget in the Assembly, was made in response to a TDP MLA’s vow that he would resign his seat if he cannot prove that the Jalayagnam programme was not working. Reacting to the remark, Kiran Kumar Reddy said he already had 25 byelections to contend with and he was loath to having any more on his plate.
Read together with the acceptance of Mekapati’s resignation by the Lok Sabha speaker, the chief minister’s off-the-cuff remarks triggered speculation that the Congress government is finally moving to get the cross-party loyalists of Jagan Mohan Reddy disqualified from the Assembly.
The resignations by the J campers were handed in months ago, and they even voted against the government in the Assembly, daring to be disqualified. But proceedings against them have been slow since then, giving the impression that the Congress party is reluctant to disqualify them since it fears it cannot win the byelections.
However, the chief minister’s statement in the Assembly indicates that the sword of Damocles will finally fall on the J campers. Analysts said the Congress is getting round to taking action against the Jagan MLAs since biennial elections to the Rajya Sabha are coming up in April and having MLAs with external loyalties may have embarrassing consequences. If the J camp MLAs are allowed to continue as Congress members, there is the possibility of them voting against the party nominees.