Endgame for jagan
Cancellation of his bail and the flight of his cadre could spell doom for the politician. The CBI’s prosecutors allege Jagan flouted his bail conditions besides attempting to vitiate the judicial process.
Trouble has always lurked around the corner for Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy. But this time could well be the endgame for the 44-year-old president of the YSR Congress and leader of the opposition in the Andhra Pradesh assembly.
On April 2, chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu inducted into his cabinet four of the 21 MLAs, from among the 67 elected on the YSR Congress ticket in June 2014, who have switched loyalties to the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) over the past two years.
Naidu acted just days after the Central Bureau of Investigation moved the special CBI court in Hyderabad seeking cancellation of the bail Jagan was granted in September 2013 in a disproportionate assets case. The CBI’s prosecutors allege Jagan flouted his bail conditions besides attempting to vitiate the judicial process.
The CBI cited interviews of former AP chief secretary P. Ramakanth Reddy-a key witness in the assets case-published in Sakshi, a Telugu daily owned by Jagan, and aired on Sakshi TV as well. The CBI counsel told the court that the sole motive of publishing and airing the interviews, which contradicted earlier statements to the CBI, was to dissuade other witnesses from testifying against Jagan.
The CBI has filed 11 charge-sheets against Jagan and 12 others, including his auditor and YSR Congress Rajya Sabha member V. Vijaya Sai Reddy, accusing them of amassing disproportionate wealth. “Is it the CBI or Chandrababu who wants the bail cancelled,” asks Sai Reddy. Jagan and the others are alleged to have received crores of rupees as investments from individuals and firms as quid pro quo for favours granted to them when his father, the late Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, was the chief minister.
Political observers say both-the CBI demand that his bail be cancelled as well as the continuing attrition within his party’s ranks-could well spell doom for the young AP politician. “When TDP MLAs defected to the ruling TRS in Telangana, Naidu called the act political prostitution, and now what is he doing?” asks Jagan, seeking disqualification of MLAs who have defected from his party.
Withdrawal of bail could see Jagan back in jail where he spent 16 months from March 2012 to September 2013. If that happens, it will be a daunting task for him to retain YSR Congress cadres in most districts. And with CM Naidu inducting rebels into his cabinet, it may prove to be impossible.