YSRCP cheif can turn out to be kingmaker-in-waiting

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Speculation over a post poll scenario brings forth heavy hitters from the regions, sometimes derisively called political weathercocks. So expect their actions and statements to be dissected for hidden meaning. They had been relegated to the fringes after 2014 but appear to be fancying their chances once again in 2019.

Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy of YSR Congress Party, who is nipping away at the heels of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, is a key player in state politics.

However, he could be positioning himself for a possible role at the national level — going by his recent remarks, where he said he had forgiven the Congress but also praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi.The YSR Congress Party did not fare well in 2014 in terms of seats won in the Assembly and the Lok Sabha but was right up there with Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in terms of vote percentage.

 

If indeed Jagan has a role to play in a post poll scenario, who would he stand with? The answer to that is not a foregone conclusion. The YSR Congress Party has a strong base among Muslims, and he is Christian. But, that might not place him automatically in the anti-BJP camp.Jagan has a number of criminal and other cases against him — according to his affidavit, he faces 31 criminal cases, seven cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and 11 cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act pending against him. If Modi were to ride back to power, the YSR leader might be reminded of these pending cases against him.On the public forum Jagan has tried to provide clarity, saying he will back the party that provides special category status to Andhra Pradesh — a promise made by the UPA-II government when Andhra Pradesh was divided to create Telangana. That might not entirely hold when all the chips are laid on the table.