It could be a strategy to kill two birds with one stone. In a bid to come over the no-confidence motion against the government smoothly, in case any party moves it in the ensuing budget session of the Assembly, and not to give any chance to the YSRC to get an MLC seat with the help of rebels, the ruling party seems to be moving in the direction of initiating disciplinary action against nine of its legislators who are sailing with YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.
According to sources, after much dilly-dallying for several months, the Congress leadership is considering action against the nine loyalists of Jagan in the party.
As per this decision, the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leadership will ask Speaker N Manohar to accept the resignations of five of its MLAs--S Vijaya Krishna Ranga Rao (Bobbili), Alla Kali Krishna Srinivas alias Nani (Eluru), Maddala Rajesh Kumar (Chintalapudi), Dwarampudi Chandrasekhara Reddy (Kakinada Urban) and Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy (Punganur), which are lying on the table of the Speaker.
The Congress leadership will also take action against four of its legislators who met Jagan at Chanchalguda prison and pledged their support to him. They are: Perni Venkata Ramiah alias Nani (Machilipatnam), Buchepalli Siva Prasada Reddy (Darsi), Gottipati Ravi Kumar (Addanki) and Jogi Ramesh (Pedana).
The party leadership is planning to suspend these four from the party so as to request the Speaker to disqualify them from their membership of the Assembly. The Congress will also act tough against those who are participating in the programmes of YSRC. If the resignations of the five MLAs are accepted, the strength of the House will come down from 293 to 288 and the magic figure needed for the government’s survival will also come down from 147 to 145.
Since the number of Congress MLAs, after initiating action aganist the nine legislators, will be 147, there will be no immediate threat to the government.
If the Congress leadership does not act against its rebels now, then it will need the support of 147 MLAs for the survival of the government as the test will be based on the actual strength of the Assembly.
At present, the Assembly has an effective strength of 293 members.
Though the actual strength of the Congress is 156 now, after excluding the nine Jagan loyalists, the Congress strength comes down to 147. If one member changes his or her mind, the government will be in peril if the Congress faces no-trust without taking action against the nine J MLAs.
Hence, initiating action against the nine will be a safe bet for the treasury benches to face the trust vote. Another reason for the Congress leadership to act tough against Jagan loyalists is the YSRC’s plan to grab one seat in the polls to 10 MLC seats under the legislators’ quota, slated for March 21.
As Jagan’s party, which has only 17 MLAs, is planning to clinch one seat in these polls with the help of its nine loyalists in the Congress and four coverts in the TDP, the ruling party wants to thwart the plans.
If action is initiated against Jagan loyalists in the Congress as well as the TDP, then the fledgling party might not grab the MLC seat unless MIM, which has 7 MLAs, supports it.
Yet another reason for the ruling party to take acting against Jagan loyalists is that though the resignations of the rebels are accepted, it is unlikely that bypolls are held for these seats as panchayat polls will be conducted soon.
By the time the panchayat polls and elections to other local bodies are over, 2014 general elections will be due. Hence, it is highly unlikely that bypolls will be held to the seats where either resignations are accepted or MLAs are disqualified.