Kommineni Srinivasa Rao

The wheels of time move slowly, but surely, in strange ways. Seven years ago, YSR Congress Party President YS Jagan Mohan Reddy faced indescribable hardships and suffering. The Congress party colluded with the Telugu Desam to incarcerate him. It is widely perceived that they managed institutions to ensure that he was denied bail. Though YS Jagan did not hold any official position, they ingeniously foisted quid pro quo case on him and put him to great suffering and derived sadistic pleasure from the fact that they could succeed in keeping him in prison for 16 months.

To YS Jagan‘s credit, he withstood all the trials and tribulations he went through and emerged stronger. This is precisely the reason why the Congress leadership is compelled to turn its attention towards him today.

It is widely believed that not only did Sonia Gandhi build an aloofness and distance in the case of YS Jagan, but also got into a secret understanding with an arch-enemy of the Congress, TD, led by Chandrababu Naidu. She could not tolerate the growing popularity of YS Jagan and his emergence as a leader in undivided Andhra Pradesh after he established his own political party. The Congress leadership ensured that YS Jagan went to jail.

The most interesting feature of this is that not once did YS Jagan speak abusively of Sonia Gandhi. He worked tirelessly to build the YSR Congress party leading it from the front, and staying amidst the masses of the state all through the past five years has now come to a stage where analysts feel that he would get about 110 seats in the assembly and 20 in the Lok Sabha. Most exit polls also seemed to suggest this.

In contrast, Chandrababu Naidu, who headed an anti-Congress party, a party which was born as an alternative to the grand old party in Andhra Pradesh, has made a 360° turn. The TDP chief who once described Sonia Gandhi as devil incarnate and her party as garbage, constantly sings praises of Rahul Gandhi today. In the bargain, he is making a laughing stock of himself.

Under these circumstances, the emerging picture at the Centre becomes interesting. While Chandrababu Naidu is running around the Congress and other political parties, YS Jagan exudes a quiet confidence, certain that those who need his support will come to him.

It is in this context that reports of the Congress leadership writing letters to both YS Jagan and the TRS chief KCR seeking their support for an anti-Modi, anti-NDA front, appeared. They have been invited to a meeting of all major opposition parties to be held on the day of results, May 23. They may choose to attend the meeting or skip it, because all the decisions now will hinge on the final numbers.

Just as fortune smiled on YS Jagan after many years of hardship, KCR’s political career went through several ups and downs. The TRS which won only 10 assembly and two Lok Sabha seats in 2009, is likely to play a key role in the formation of the next government at the Centre. To his credit, KCR exploited the situation to his advantage, after the untimely demise of Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy.

Things came to such a pass that the Sonia Gandhi-led Congress was forced to concede to the demand of a separate Telangana. It was speculated for some time that the TRS would be merged with the Congress after separate Telangana was formed, but whether it was because of the style of functioning of Sonia Gandhi, or other Congress leaders, KCR decided to stake it out on his own and struck gold in the process.

In contrast the Congress in Telangana, shrunk in size and strength to a rump. While KCR is busy trying to stitch up a broad anti-BJP, anti-Congress Federal Front, the Congress leadership is trying to woo him, it appears.

Chandrababu Naidu‘s condition, on the other hand, appears pitiable. He is forced to hail those whom he severely criticised till recently and sing their praises now. It is also evident that he is worried about future course of action if the results on Thursday prove unfavourable to the TDP.

While he is in a state of anxiety, YS Jagan and KCR appear confident about their prospects. This is how the wheel of fortune turns full circle.

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