YSRCP reshuffle sees Jagan retaining only 8 MLAs as candidates in 35 constituencies, and none in their current seat!

The YSRCP seems to have learnt from the BRS debacle in Telangana, and fears a strong anti-incumbency backlash.

ByBhaskar Basava

Published Jan 10, 2024 | 10:00 AMUpdatedJan 10, 2024 | 10:43 AM

YSRCP MLAs workshop at GGMP. (Supplied)

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and YSRCP supremo YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, in the run-up to the Assembly elections, has so far released two lists with 35 names as in-charges, retaining only eight sitting MLAs, and reshuffling all of them to other constituencies.

According to YSRCP sources South First reached out to, the list is a step towards achieving the ambitious target of winning all 175 Assembly seats.

Notably, neighbouring Telangana saw BRS chief and former chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao head to the elections with only 12 changes to the team that won the 2018 Assembly elections, despite concerns of anti-incumbency.

The BRS faced a debacle by winning just 39 out of the 119 seats in the Assembly. Out of them, nine MLAs were among the 12 candidates changed by the BRS.

In Speaking earlier about the BRS’ loss, the party cadre remarked that changing more candidates could have resulted in a better result for it.

Learning from the BRS failure

Jagan and his team aim to avoid a similar mistake, having learnt from the mistake made by the BRS.

To ensure favourable results, Jagan is heeding ground reports submitted by its poll consultancy I-PAC, aided by YSRCP General Secretary and Government Advisor Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy, and R Dhanunjaya Reddy, head of the YSRCP campaign, and eight regional coordinators — and making changes with new faces.

Additionally, Jagan and his team aim to include Backward Class (BC) candidates in the list to gain support from the community, which comprises around 52 percent of the state population.

However, the decision not to renominate around 21 sitting MLAs has not been well-received by them. They have expressed discontent, stating that it has become a one-man show since YS Jagan came to power and why they should bear the brunt of failures when the credit for successes is claimed by the party chief.

With more lists set to come, voices against not renominating sitting MLAs are being raised in YS Jagan’s camp.

Also read: 4 parties, but YSR or NTR families are Andhra’s only choices

The first list

In the first list of 11 names released on 11 December, four sitting MLAs were retained out of the eight constituencies won by the YSRCP earlier.

Two Reddy leaders who were denied tickets were replaced with faces from the BC community.

Sitting MLAs who were denied party tickets include Alla Ramakrishna Reddy from Mangalagiri, TJR Sudhakar Babu from Santhanuthalapadu (reserved Scheduled Caste, or SC), Tippala Nagi Reddy from Gajuwaka.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Vidadala Rajini was shifted to Guntur West from Chilakaluripet, former minister Mekathoti Sucharita of Prathipadu to Tadikonda, MA&UD Minister Audimulapu Suresh of Yerragondapalem to Kondapi, and SC Minister Merugu Nagarjuna of Vemuru to Santhanuthalapadu.

Undavalli Sri Devi from Tadikonda (SC) was earlier suspended from the party for allegedly voting in favour of a TDP MLC candidate.

With four sitting MLAs retained (one BC minister, two SC ministers, and a former SC minister), Jagan nominated seven new faces, including two from the SC, one each from Kapu and Reddy communities, and three from among the BCs.

Also read: TDP, Jana Sena accuse YSRCP of ridiculing democracy

The second list

In the second list of 24 in-charges, released on 2 January, only four sitting MLAs were retained — but with a reshuffle.

They are I&PR Minister Chelluboyina Venugopal Krishna of Ramachandrapuram who has been moved to Rajahmundry Rural, Women’s Development Minister Usha Sri Charan of Kalyandurg to Penukonda, former minister Vellampalli Srinivas Vijayawada West to Vijayawada Central, and MLA Kambala Jogulu from Rajam to Payakaraopet (SC).

Additionally, at least four MPs were shifted to Assembly seats, and two MLAs were shifted to MP positions.

Notable shifts included Araku MP Goddeti Madhavi to the Araku-ST Assembly seat, Kakinada MP Vanga Geetha to the Pithapuram Assembly constituency, Rajahmundry MP Margani Barath to Rajahmundry City, and Anantapur MP Talari Rangaiah to the Rayadurg constituency.

Meanwhile, Malagundla Sankaranarayana, the Penukonda MLA, has been appointed as the Anantapur MP in-charge, and Kottagulli Bhagya, the MLA of Paderu (ST), has been appointed as the Araku MP in-charge.

The sitting MLAs who were denied tickets were Industries Minister Gudivada Amarnath (Anakapalle), Golla Babu Rao (Payakaraopet-SC), Kondeti Chittibabu (P Gannavaram), Pendem Dorababu (Pithapuram), Jyothula Chanti Babu (Jaggampeta), Parvatha Purnachandra (Prathipadu), P V Sidda Reddy (Kadiri), Chenna Kesava Reddy (Yemmiganur), Chetti Palguna (Araku-ST), and Malladi Vishnu (Vijayawada Central).

Meanwhile, six other MLAs opted not to contest and nominated their heirs.

They were Pilli Surya Prakash Rao, son of Rajya Sabha member Pilli Subhash Chandra Bose, from Ramachandrapuram; Perni Krisha Murthy alias Kittu, son of sitting MLA Perni Venkatramaiah alias Perni Nani from Machilipatnam; Tellam Rajya Lakshmi, wife of sitting MLA Tellam Balaraju from Polavaram (ST); Bhumana Abhinay Reddy, son of sitting MLA Bhumana Karunakar Reddy from Tirupati; Chevireddy Mohit Reddy, son of sitting MLA Chevireddy Bhaskar Reddy from Chandragiri, and Shaik Noori Fatima, daughter of sitting MLA Mohammad Mustafa (Guntur East).

As for the caste equations, seven out of the 24 in-charges belong to BCs, four each belong to SCs and Kapus (OC), three each to SCs and Reddys (OC), two top the Muslim community, and one to Vaishyas (OC).

Overall, out of 35 constituencies from the two lists, only eight sitting MLAs are contesting, and none from the constituencies they won in 2019.

Additionally, 21 sitting MLAs are not contesting again the Assembly elections, with only some promised Lok Sabha election tickets.

Also read: Disgruntled MP Kesineni Nani’s daughter Swetha resigns

Dissent over ticket denial

While sitting MLAs who were denied tickets and received calls about not being renominated from Jagan’s team expressed discontent, some openly criticised the party’s decision.

Puthalapattu (SC) MLA MS Babu, who was told by the party that he would not be renominated, stated, “For the past few years, the party has asked me to do the Gadapa-Gadapaku programme and Jagan himself assured me of renomination. I did everything that the chief minister told me, but today I have been denied the ticket. If there is still anti-incumbency, the leadership should introspect about whose fault it is.”

Another MLA — Jonnalagadda Padmavathy from Singanamala (SC) — expressed surprise that despite her doing the Gadapa-Gadapaku programme, it hasn’t helped her win renomination.

She went live on Facebook and alleged a lack of cooperation over development and water allocation from senior leaders in the party for her drought-hit constituency.

Senior leader Kapu Ramachandra Reddy echoed similar reasons while leaving Jagan’s office after learning that he was not being renominated.

Other MLAs who were not renominated were reportedly in talks with the cadre to plan their future course of action, despite not making public statements.

This situation raised questions about whether the anti-incumbency was against the MLAs or the chief minister, as many MLAs point towards Jagan’s one-man show.

Since Jagan assumed power, all schemes shifted to the Direct Benefit Transfers mode, removing the say of middlemen to prevent corruption.

However, party leaders on the ground allege that this led to no involvement from their side and credit being taken by Jagan.

Also read: As YS Sharmila joins Cong, recall the YSR family’s fallout with it

Who is to blame?

The Gadapa-Gadapaku Mana Prabhutvam programme, launched in 2022, was essential to reach out to every individual and tell them that the Jagan government achieved everything that it promised in the manifesto.

In short, it was like a report card on the chief minister’s governance, with word of its benefits spread by the local MLAs.

A snap from GGMP programme in Anantapur district. (Supplied)

A snap from GGMP programme in Anantapur district. (Supplied)

While MLAs reportedly avoided the programme in some parts due to fear of criticism for neglecting local issues, others had to face public scrutiny.

Infrastructure-related issues, such as the construction of roads, drainage, and other local promises, were among the majority of concerns raised by the public.

Reportedly, there are no funds left — mostly in the panchayats — to address minor issues. The Panchayat Sarpanch Union alleged that funds from the 14th and 15th Central Finance Commission meant for the utilisation of panchayats were diverted to the state government, resulting in less scope for addressing local issues.

Telagnana polls: TDP looks to anti-incumbency as YSRCP dissects BRS defeat

Expert weighs in

Prof DAR Subrahmanyam, the chairman of Navyandhra Intellectual Forum, told South First: “Anti-incumbency against Jagan is evident due to his perceived failure to create infrastructure from rural areas to cities.”

He added: “The public is well aware that it’s not the MLAs but Jagan who holds responsibility for the lack of development.”

Subrahmanyam further said he believes that the anti-incumbency against MLAs was “relatively less in comparison with the chief minister”.

He noted: “Jagan has not fulfilled major promises — ranging from special status to capital construction — and his style of functioning is clear to several sections of society.”

The professor, however, also opined: “Although Jagan may be perceived as a bad administrator, he excels in political engineering. His changes are strategically designed to reflect the social backgrounds of communities such as Reddys, backward classes, and minorities, where a majority voted against Chandrababu Naidu in the previous elections.”

He also highlighted the high anti-incumbency against Cabinet members, including Irrigation Minister Ambati Rambabu, for not pursuing the Polavaram project, IT Industries Minister Gudivada Amarnath over unemployment, Agriculture Minister Kakani Govardhan Reddy, and Tourism Minister Roja and many others for their perceived sector-wise poor performance on the ground.

Subrahmanyam concluded, “The changing of candidates reflects efforts to appeal to various social backgrounds. Also, the transfer of anti-incumbency votes to the TDP is highly doubtful, given the trust issues with Chandrababu Naidu. Many promises were left unfulfilled during Naidu’s tenures, and the extent to which the changes will pay off for Jagan remains to be seen.”