Andhra Pradesh: Will warring YSRCP leaders upset Jagan Mohan Reddy’s ‘175’ apple cart?

Jagan coined the slogan ‘Why Not 175’ to motivate party leaders and cadres. But infighting may dent YSRCP's prospects in some pockets.

BySNV Sudhir

Published Jul 27, 2023 | 11:00 AMUpdatedJul 27, 2023 | 11:00 AM

The Jagan Mohan government has assured the people that there is no misuse of their data. (Twitter)

Squabbles within the ruling YSRCP are out in the open in Andhra Pradesh, even as party supremo and Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has set an ambitious target of winning all the 175 Assembly segments in the state in the 2024 polls.

In a bid to motivate the party cadre and deny the Opposition, specifically the TDP, a representation in the House, Jagan coined the slogan, “Why Not 175”, but the internal strife is likely to throw a spanner in the party’s works.

The recent war of words between Rajya Sabha member Pilli Subhash Chandra Bose and Information & Public Relations Minister Chelluboyina Venugopala Krishna added to the long list of the YSRCP’s woes. The outbursts forced Jagan to intervene and iron out the differences between the leaders.

The differences between Machilipatnam MP Vallabhaneni Balashowry and former minister Perni Venkataramaiah (Nani), Narasaraopet MP Lavu Krishnadevarayulu and Health Minister Vidadala Rajini, Agriculture Minister Kakani Govardhan Reddy and former minister P Anil Kumar Yadav, a former minister from Prakasam Balineni Srinivas Reddy and others in the region, Rajahmundry MLA Jakkampudi Raja and local MP Margani Bharath, are all now out in the open.

Related: Jagan gets personal, slams Pawan Kalyan for tarring volunteers

All over Cabinet berth

In Nellore, three party legislators, Kotamreddy Sridhar Reddy, Anam Ramanarayan Reddy, and Mekapati Chandrasekhar Reddy have openly raised the banner of revolt against Jagan’s leadership. The YSRCP responded by suspending them from the party.

Seizing the opportunity, the TDP appointed Sridhar Reddy as its in-charge of the Nellore Rural segment. He also actively participated in TDP scion Nara Lokesh’s padayatra, the Yuva Galam, or Voice of Youth.

Now, Jagan has to look for new candidates in the three Assembly segments of the suspended trio.

Additionally, two senior leaders in Nellore have locked horns over Cabinet berths. While shuffling his Cabinet in April, Jagan dropped P Anil Kumar Yadav and inducted Kakani Govardhan Reddy. Both Yadav and Govardhan Reddy are from Nellore and they do not get along.

Efforts for a truce between the two warring leaders failed in April last year. Yadav skipped the new Cabinet’s swearing-in ceremony, saying Govardhan Reddy had not invited him.

Related: Minister, YSRCP MP lock horns over a seat in crucial Godavari region

Simmering rivalry

Later, the two rival groups convened separate public meetings, forcing Jagan to summon both to Mangalagiri, the chief minister’s camp office. After the meeting, neither Yadav nor Govardhan Reddy made any public statement. However, their rivalry is far from over.

In the Krishna district, former minister Perni Nani and Machilipatnam MP Vallabhaneni Balashowry are at loggerheads. Their rivalry, too, has spilled out in the open with both trading charges against each other on alleged violation of official protocol.

In the same district, Gannavaram MLA Vallabhaneni Vamsi, who had defected to the YSRCP, and Yarlagadda Venkat Rao, who contested on a YSRCP ticket in 2019, too, have their daggers drawn at each other.

Both are aspiring to contest the 2024 polls. They too made public statements, much to the chagrin of the YSRCP. In the Vijayawada West segment, sitting YSRCP MLA and former minister Vellampalli Srinivas did not hesitate to take potshots at Samineni Udaya Bhanu, the MLA representing Jaggayapeta.

Srinivas’s grouse is that Bhanu took his rival in the West segment, Akula Srinivas, to Jagan. He suspects that Bhanu is eyeing the Vijayawada West seat for his protégé Akula Srinivas.

In Guntur’s Sattenapalli segment, Irrigation Minister Ambati Rambabu is facing the heat from a local YSRCP leader, Chitta Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy, who has been organising meetings against the minister.

Related: Andhra politics now revolves around YSRCP, BJP, Jana Sena

A resignation and a U-turn

In the Vizag South segment, MLA Vasupalli Ganesh Kumar, who had defected to the YSRCP from the TDP, is under fire from Andhra Pradesh Brahmin Corporation Chairman Seetamraju Sudhakar.

Miffed over Sudhakar’s interference, Ganesh Kumar had once resigned as the party’s in-charge of the Assembly segment. He later withdrew his resignation after the central leadership’s intervention.

The turf war between Rajahmundry MP Margani Bharath and Rajanagaram MLA Jakkampudi Raja is continuing, though both leaders have stopped making public statements about each other.

Both Bharath and Raja are considered important for YSRCP due to their caste backing in the Godavari districts.  While Bharath belongs to a Backward Class (BC) community which has a major chunk of votes, Raja comes from the strong and influential Kapu community.

The tussle between them has become a headache for the party leadership. However, the leadership has a tightrope to walk without harming anyone’s interests.

Most importantly, both are seen as youth icons in their respective communities even as the party and politics as a whole are transitioning to the younger generation.

Raja’s family has a strong political background and has been associated with Jagan for a long period. His father was close to Jagan’s late father YS  Rajashekara Reddy and had served as a minister in his Cabinet.

Related: Who are ‘volunteers’ — loved by YSRCP, hated by AP Opposition?

The Rajahmundry conundrum

Jagan picked Bharath over others to contest from the Rajahmundry Lok Sabha segment in 2019 since he was a young leader. However, Bharath and Raja are now locked in a fierce turf war in Rajahmundry.

Bharath has been visiting and consoling the family of a lecturer, a TDP sympathiser, who was attacked by a group reportedly affiliated with Raja. Though Bharath denied the charge in a news conference, Raja has been maintaining that Bharath is working with TDP against the YSRCP.

Even as the rivalry was turning ugly, the YSRCP central leadership swung into action to ensure it did not escalate.

In Chittoor, Tourism Minister RK Roja has issues with a faction in her constituency Nagari. The faction, led by Srisailam Temple Trust board chairman Chaktapani Reddy reportedly has the active support of Minister Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy. She once even burst out in tears in public.

Jagan could bring a temporary truce with Mekathoti Sucharitha, P Anil Kumar Yadav, and Balineni Srinivas Reddy, who were dropped from the Cabinet, and MLAs Pinneli Ramakrishna Reddy, Samineni Udhayabhanu, and Kolusu Parthasarathy, who were denied Cabinet berths.

Cherukawada Sriranganadha Raju, Alla Nani, and Balineni Srinivas Reddy, who were dropped from the Cabinet, did not turn up for the oath-taking ceremony of the new ministers on 11 April 2022.

The followers of MLAs Pinneli Ramakrishna Reddy, Samineni Udhayabhanu, Kolusu Parthasarathy, Balineni Srinivas Reddy, and Mekathoti Sucharitha openly showed their resentment by staging protests last year. However, Jagan pacified them by assuring better opportunities in the future.