VIJAYAWADA/HYDERABAD: The ongoing battle of wits between the ruling TDP and principal opposition, the YSRC, in Andhra Pradesh on Saturday took an interesting turn with former leaking information that at least eight to 10 YSRC MLAs, including Bhuma Nagi Reddy and his daughter Akhila Priya, are ready to shift their loyalties to its side at any moment.
In turn, the YSRC, whose party chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy spent the whole day holding meetings with his close aides to formulate strategies to keep his flock together, termed the TDP’s leak as a ‘mind game’ and claimed that all of its MLAs are solidly behind the party.
By Saturday evening it became amply clear that Bhuma Nagireddy may cross over to the ruling party. Though Nagi Reddy is said have temporarily put on hold his proposal to join the TDP following repeated negotiations with his boss Jagan, ruling party leaders are confident that Reddy would be crossing over to the yellow party, sooner or later.
In a clear indication that Bhuma might cross over, TDP boss and AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday evening held a key meeting at Vijayawada with his party leaders from Kurnool district. Bhuma too is from Kurnool and Chandrababu is understood to have told the Kurnool TDP members not to oppose Bhuma’s induction.
“So far, there has been no confirmation from Nagi Reddy. We are ready to embrace him unconditionally. After all, he is our one-time pal,” Deputy Chief Minister KE Krishnamurthy, who hails from Kurnool district, told scribes after the meeting. Interestingly, he further added, saying, “We are ready welcome all YSRC MLAs, if they want to join the TDP en masse.”
However, TDP boss Naidu, who addressed media, a few hours after this, chose to evade a straight answer on Nagi Reddy’s possible defection to the TDP. What made the TDP to go on offensive against the YSRC? According to sources, Naidu wants to ensure that YSRC is denied of the lone Rajya Sabha seat it can hope to win by decreasing the numerical strength of Jagan’s party in the Assembly. Interestingly, there are fears in certain sections that the influx could hit their political chances.
The TDP boss, therefore, is said to be trying to placate his party leaders by promising them that he would accommodate all leaders regardless of whether they are from the TDP or YSRC.
Proving this, KE Krishnamurthy said, “As AP Assembly seats will be increased from the existing 175 to 225 by next general polls as per AP Reorganisation Act, we don’t think that the possible influx of YSRC MLAs into TDP would pose any threat to the TDP leaders in getting party tickets in the next polls.”
Meanwhile, YSRC boss Jagan Mohan Reddy began fire-fighting and held confabulations with his party’s key leaders to counter the moves of the TDP. He also made all-out attempts to convince Bhuma Nagi Reddy not to leave the party.
As per the directive of the YSRC boss, his representatives - MP YV Subba Reddy, Vijay Sai Reddy and Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy - called on Nagi Reddy here and tried to persuade him not to desert the party.
Later, the troika told scribes that Nagi Reddy had told them that he would not leave the YSRC.
6 Kurnool YSRC MLAs Say They are With Jagan
TDP leadership claimed that as many as eight to ten MLAs of the YSRC were in touch with it. It further put out feelers that four MLAs from Kurnool district including Bhuma Nagi Reddy and his daughter Akhila Priya, and another four MLAs from Prakasam district might shift their political allegiance soon. However, the YSRC dismissed these claims, saying, “The ruling party is resorting to a mind game with the opposition.” “It is a false propaganda of TDP and its friendly media to cover up its failure and loss of face in the neighbouring Telangana state. We have no reason to switch over to TDP whose stock is continuously falling due to failed poll promises,” YSRC’s MLAs from Kurnool -SV Mohan Reddy, Gauru Sucharita Reddy. Jayaramulu and Budda Rajasekhar told mediapersons. However, Bhuma Nagi Reddy did not turn up at the press meet.