Warning bells are ringing for the Congress as more of its legislators are planning to board YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s ship.
Despite the all-out efforts of chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and PCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana to persuade the fence-sitters to stay with the Congress, as many as 11 legislators from the Congress are understood to be preparing to cross the fence soon - a majority of them from twin Godavari districts, Krishna and Prakasam where the fledgling YSRC is blooming.
In East Godavari, Dwarampudi Chandrasekhar Reddy (Kakinada Urban) is set to join the YSRC after a year-long hide-and-seek with the Congress. According to his close aides, the MLA is planning to join the YSRC after Sankranthi. Reddy has been moving close with the YSRC leadership. He met YS Vijaya Lakshmi and her daughter Sharmila during their campaign in Visakhapatnam district during the recent bypolls.
Another legislator from East Godavari district, Ponnada Satish Kumar’s name is also (Mummidivaram) doing rounds. He, however, denied any plans to defect. But the MLA openly threatened to quit the Congress some days ago citing his differences with animal husbandry minister Pinipe Viswaroop (Amalapuram), who also hails from the same district.
In Krishna district, government whip Perni Venkataramaiah alias Nani (Machilipatnam) and MLAs Malladi Vishnu (Vijayawada Central) and Jogi Ramesh (Pedana) are reportedly planning to join the YSRC.
Though these three MLAs are not openly acknowledging this, their confidants say that their shifting of loyalty is just a matter of time.
In Ranga Reddy district, D Sudheer Reddy (LB Nagar), Chowlapally Prathap Reddy (Shadnagar) and associate Congress MLA Kuna Srisailam Goud are reportedly mulling over shifting their political allegiance to Jagan sooner or later.
Coming to Prakasam district, Express already reported that Buchepalli Sivaprasada Reddy (Darsi) and Gottipati Ravi Kumar (Addanki) are planning to join the YSRC. These two legislators are likely to bid adieu to the Congress soon after Sankranthi.
“I have gathered the opinions of people of my constituency over joining YSRC. Several of them are asking me to join the fledgling party. I have yet to make up mind over this,” Ravi Kumar told Express.
In Vizianagaram, the home district of PCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana, Parvathipuram legislator Savarapu Jayamani’s name is top in the list of possible defectors. Jayamani, who earlier met Vijayamma and extended her support to the YSRC, stayed back following Botcha’s persuasion. However, party leaders say that her switching over to the YSRC is just a matter of time.
Kurupam legislator and minister Sathrucharla Vijayarama Raju’s nephew Thatraj Janardhan’s name is also doing the rounds as a likely defector to Jagan camp in the district.
Ministers looking towards YSRC?
Names of two ministers -- Pinipe Viswaroop (Amalapuram in East Godavari district) and Kasu Venkata Krishna Reddy (Narasaraopet in Guntur district) -- have been doing the rounds as the likely defectors to the YSRC.
As Viswaroop’s son Krishna and Kasu’s son Mahesh Reddy are active in the YSRC, there are speculations that the two ministers will also board Jagan’s ship.
However, both ministers made it clear that they would continue in the Congress.
Meanwhile, the PCC chief made light of the switch-over of party legislators, saying, “We don’t care if any number of MLAs quit the party. Congress only gives priority to ethics and moral values.”