60 MLAs of YSRCP tensed up fearing denial of party ticket

YS Jagan's 'horses-for-courses' policy with an eye on the elections in 2024 is setting the cat amongst the pigeons in the YSRCP

60 MLAs of YSRCP

AMARAVATI: It is widely known that most of the decisions of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and YSRCP president YS Jaganmohan Reddy are based on factors that are "pragmatic and poll-centric" rather than emotional in nature. A few could be termed as calculated risk. Now, his 'horses-for-courses' policy with an eye on the next elections in 2024 is setting the cat amongst the pigeons within the YSRCP.

The bottomline of this policy, as has been candidly spelt out by Jagan himself, is to go full-steam on a major shake-up of candidates, as the party intends to maximise the gains next time.

Against this backdrop, came the party leadership's decision to appoint additional coordinators for constituencies, which is being seen as a precursor to the much-talked-about exercise to pick only the winning horses for the elections. The appointment of coordinators, this well in advance, is also to ensure that any backlash due to the disgruntlement of incumbent MLAs/MPs is essentially dissipated.

Needless to say, the move has caused tremors within the party. Several current people's representatives and aspirants are said to be receiving this with a sense of insecurity as they begin to perceive a threat to their future electoral fortunes in their respective segments.

Adding to their worry is the speculation that about 60 sitting MLAs and 12 MPs could lose their candidacy in the next elections.

YS Jagan has clearly outlined his intentions and the benchmarks that will determine the fate of the YSRCP's candidates for 2024, leaving no room for misgivings.

He kept harping on this formula during his recent interactions with the legislators. Given his determination to wrest all the 175 Assembly seats, the writing on the wall is clear for MLAs and MPs, especially those whose performance only flattered to deceive over the last three years.

MPs for Assembly, MLAs for Parliament

The YSRCP public representatives have been under constant scrutiny in the wake of periodical surveys. The party leadership has roped in I-PAC teams and another Delhi-based independent agency to gauge the public pulse on various performance indicators. There are whispers within the party that, based on the survey reports, a large-scale chopping and changing of candidates and shuffling of their constituencies looks certain, as until this moment.

It is learnt that, after vetting these reports in fine detail, a few MPs might be fielded for the Assembly race while some sitting legislators could be asked to contest for Lok Sabha. However, YS Jagan appears to have decided to focus first on the appointment of additional coordinators for more constituencies as a prelude to the bigger exercise.

This organisational reform, with an eye on future electoral gains, is making many legislators jittery. Tadikonda MLA Sridevi is one such sulking soul who is feeling insecure ever since MLC Dokka Manikya Vara Prasad was appointed as the incharge for her constituency.

Interestingly, the names of the 60 Assembly constituencies, that are widely expected to see new faces next time, are under circulation within the party circles. As per their information, in the Guntur district, Tenali, Mangalagiri, Ponnur and Tadikonda are likely to have their current legislators replaced.

Mangalagiri leads the pack

Of them, the case of Mangalagiri generates added curiosity since Nara Lokesh, the son of TDP president Chandrababu Naidu, is making all-out efforts to win the hearts of the electorate after a humiliating defeat in 2019. Fully aware of the TDP's plan to endear the voters here, YS Jagan is learnt to have decided to use the BCs as the trump card.

Alla Ramakrishna Reddy, the sitting legislator of the ruling party, was reportedly sounded well in advance of the bleak chances of his re-nomination from the constituency. It is speculated that he would either be fielded from another constituency in Guntur district or would be compensated with an equally respectable position. YS Jagan, with survey reports playing the catalyst, feels that fielding a BC leader, especially one from the weaver's community this time, is the dire need to reclaim the seat. Voters from the weaver's community have traditionally been the deciding factor in determining the fortunes of various parties in Mangalagiri.

Even Alla Ramakrishna Reddy is said to have reconciled, reluctantly though, to the compelling caste combinations.

The list of constituencies that are likely to see new YSRCP candidates is as follows:

Guntur: Tenali, Mangalagiri, Ponnur and Tatikonda

Bapatla: Bapatla, Vemuru, Santanuthalapadu and Parchuru

Palnadu: Sattenapalli and Chilakaluripet

Prakasam: Kondepi, Markapuram and Yerragondapalem

Nellore: Kavali, Udayagiri, Kovuru and Kandukuru

Tirupati: Venkatagiri and Gudur and Srikalahasti

Apart from the above, the YSRCP is likely to replace its candidates in Etcherla, Kurupam, Pathapatnam, Tekkali, Icchapuram, Bobbili, S Kota, Gajapatinagaram, Vizag East, Vizag South, Payakaraopet, Narsipatnam, Araku, Gajuvaka, Pithapuram, Paderu, Jaggampet, Prathipadu, Rajahmundry Urban, Rajahmundry Rural, Kakinada Rural, Rampachodavaram, Palakollu, Unguturu, Eluru, Panamaluru, Vijayawada West, Mylavaram, Kaikaluru and Avanigadda.

In Rayalaseema, the Assembly constituencies of Puthalapattu, Palamaneru, Singanamalai, Pathikonda, Hindupur, Puttaparthi, Anantapur, Kalyanadurgam, Nandikotkuru and Mydukuru may witness replacement of YSRCP candidates.

It is also widely expected that YS Jagan would infuse candidate changes in about 12 Lok Sabha constituencies namely, Hindupur, Anantapur, Nellore, Bapatla, Vijayawada, Eluru, Narsapuram, Amalapuram, Anakapalli, Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam.

'Gadapa Gadapaku..', a twin-edged sword for Jagan

The 'Gadapa Gadapaku Mana Prabhuthvam' programme is also believed to be unwittingly playing its part in the likely replacement of candidates in some places. YS Jagan, while using the initiative to gauge the larger public mood about his governance, is also speculated to be leveraging it in his assessment of his legislators' popularity and performance locally.

The YSRCP chief is reportedly particular about the replacement of candidates at some places, in the hope that it would work to his party's favour at the hustings. The appointment of coordinators and additional coordinators is being seen as a new layer of potential candidates, who in their latest capacity, are being helped to swing into a better groundwork in the constituencies and create a conducive ecosystem.

The move, which is more organisational in nature, may help the ruling party in neutralising the negative perception to some extent against some sitting MLAs at some places. But then, at best, this can only be isolated treatment rather than a comprehensive cure. Anti-incumbency, a bane for any government, is the factor that YS Jagan probably needs to address with more innovative strategies on a bigger scale, wherever it is found to be creating stumbling blocks.

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