Now, advantage Jagan in Delhi
Two years ago, when YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy concluded his historic Padayatra at Itchapuram in Srikakulam district, he said that the party that would come to power at the Centre should depend on him for survival at the Center so as to dictate terms and protect AP’s interests.
He was referring to the bifurcation issues with Special Category Status (SCS) on top and said that the coailation at the Centre after the 2019 elections, whether it is BJP-led NDA or the Congress-led UPA, should not have the numbers to sustain at the Center. He anticipated 25 MP seats for his party so that he could dictate terms to the ‘minority’ coailation.
But, things did not happen as he anticipated. The Congress-led UPA was reduced to double digit, while the BJP alone had won 303 seats emerging strongest in the Parliament. Jaganmohan Reddy’s YSR Congress had won 22 Lok Sabha seats out of 25.
The results have upset Jaganmohan Reddy as there was no reason for the BJP to bank on any part for its survival at the Centre. In fact, Jaganmohan Reddy said that he was not happy with the thumping victory of the BJP as that would give limited scope for him to bat for the State issues.
Now, the situation in Delhi had changed in favour of Jaganmohan Reddy. The exit of Shiv Sena from Maharastra and Shiromani Akali Dal from Punjab from the NDA had put the strongest party in Lok Sabha on weakest pillar in Rajya Sabha. The BJP has 86 members and its allies have 27 members taking the NDA strength to 113 in the House of 245, while the Congress strength remained at 40 with another 20 from its allies in UPA. There are 70 others in the House including the YSR Congress, Trinamool Congress, DMK, RJD and NCP.
The BJP had to struggle hard to get through the Rajya Sabha, though it has unquestionable majority in Lok Sabha. This was the situation that Jaganmohan Reddy had anticipated before the elections. The BJP is now depending on the YSR Congress, which has six members, which is equal to the loss of Shiv Sena and SAD together. Thus, the BJP is after the YSR Congress for its survival in the Upper House putting Jaganmohan Reddy in advantage.
The BJP wants a trusted ally like the YSR Congress and if Jagan has to join the NDA, he has better bargaining power in his hands. He can now place his demands clear and the SCS is said to be the top of his list. With bargaining power in his hands, it is to be seen what Jaganmohan Reddy would get for the state while accepting to give some oxygen to the BJP in Rajya Sabha.