Jagan's Congress remarks open new post-poll scenarios
YSR Congress leader Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy's remarks that he has forgiven the Congress could lead to new alignments after the Lok Sabha elections if there is a hung Parliament and parties now perceived to be friendly to the BJP adopt a different course.
With some surveys predicting that National Democratic Alliance would fall short of numbers in forming a government, the post-poll scenario will present interesting possibilities. Much would depend on the stance parties such as the Biju Janata Dal, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi and the YSR Congress that seek to maintain distance from both Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party.
While these parties are seen as potential backers of a BJP-led government, they have not spelled out their stance and could easily be part of a grouping of regional parties if they can together form a government or be could be a part of a government that has the backing of Congress.
Poll surveys have predicted the BJP-led NDA taking a major dent in Uttar Pradesh and getting almost half the 73 seats it won in 2014.
The ABP-Nielsen survey released on Thursday said that the alliance of Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) is set to get 42 seats in Uttar Pradesh and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ally Apna Dal are likely to get 36 seats. India TV-CNX pre-poll survey has predicted BJP-led NDA getting 41 seats and SP-BSP-RLD getting 35.
Though the BJP is making efforts to make up for possible losses in Uttar Pradesh and Hindi heartland states by giving a lot of thrust to Odisha and West Bengal, the party may not be able to fully compensate its losses.
Shiromani Akali Dal, a key NDA partner, is also not seen to be on a strong footing.
While the NDA may find it easy to attract regional parties if it reaches around 245 seats, any number below 220 will make the task of getting majority more difficult.
Regional players feel that a hung parliament will allow them to exert pressure on the Central government to get their demands filled.
The single-largest party or the single-largest pre-poll formation is likely to be invited by the President to form the government.
However, after the 1989 general elections, Congress under former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had emerged as the single-largest party but had declined to form a government as it had lost over 200 seats.
With just four days are left for simultaneous elections for the Andhra Pradesh Assembly and all 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state, Jagan, as the leader is popularly known, told a television channel that he has forgiven the Congress, in which he was till 2011.
"I believe in God. I pray to God. I read the Bible every day. Vengeance is not for me. I am forgiving and I have forgiven," he said.
The YSRCP chief has also lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for showing a stronger will than any other Prime Minister. He, however, said Modi may have done far better in the rest of the country, but in Andhra Pradesh he is portrayed as someone who betrayed the state by not giving it special category status.
Jagan, who foresees a hung Parliament, has been saying that he will back any party or parties wanting to form the government provided they promise to confer special status to the state.
The Congress has already announced that if voted to power at the Centre, it would grant the special status to Andhra Pradesh.
By "forgiving" the Congress, the YSRCP chief apparently wants to keep his options open.
His remarks also assume significance as Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, with whom he is locked in bitter power battle, had been working with the Congress since last year to cobble up an anti-BJP front at the national level.
In January, TRS Working President K.T. Rama Rao had met Jagan to invite him to join the Federal Front proposed by his father and TRS chief K. Chandrashekhar Rao and he had agreed.
Jagan, a businessman-politician, had revolted against the Congress after it rejected his claim for the Chief Minister's post following the death of his father and then Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy in a helicopter crash in 2009.
He later quit the Congress and floated the YSRCP, which has now become a key force in the state politics and a strong contender for power in next week's elections.-IANS