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Will / Should Jagan succeed YSR as CM?

When I heard a confirmation of YSR's chopper being found last Thursday, I had just reached my office. I called home and asked my wife to switch on the TV.I told her to call me as soon as she sees a confirmation of YSR's survival or demise. And in a conversation with a colleague a few minutes after the confirmation of his death, I suggested that by evening we would see Jagan being sworn in as the new CM.

That it did not happen and Rosaiah was made interim CM was explained away by people.They said it was mourning period and let Jagan at least complete the last rites along with his family. Well, the funeral did not stop Rajeev Gandhi from being sworn in as PM on the night of Oct 31, 1983, did it?

Any way, there are a few issues here:

1.Who should decide on the next CM? Congress Party high command (basically Sonia and Rahul) or the MLAs of AP? The Constitution is very clear on this aspect.The MLAs have to chose their leader, and the Governor has to be satisfied that the leader can command a simple majority. The MLAs have submitted a signed memorandum to high command requesting Jagan to be made CM. YSR's cabinet made a resolution to that effect as well. However, the high command has stopped the CLP from having a formal meeting :)

2.Isn't this dynastic succession against democratic values?

I suggest you read Swapan Das Gupta on this issue.

3.Is Jagan ready to don the role of CM?

The CM role requires a vision to take the state forward, and doing so through deft political management and also ensuring the bureaucracy is properly aligned . If Jagan, at 36, with over a decade of experience in active politics, commanding the confidence of a majority of Congress MLAs, and practically the entire Congress org in AP, can't be ready for this role now, when will he be? I don't think it is a valid question at all.

It remains to be seen what the Congress High command decides, and if the decision is against Jagan, what the response will be. I have a few thoughts though:

1.Is there any Congress leader in AP who can stake his/her claim openly ? I don't see any one with the political guts to do so. The best bet for the surreptious claimants is to be picked by the high command, and hope that Jagan's supporters will come around. But I doubt if any of the Cong leaders can stake the claim and face the aam Congress workers, who seem to be solidly behind Jagan.

2. Sonia and Rahul would do well to take a risk and go for Jagan.If his performance doesn't match up, there is plenty of time before 2014 to go for a different leader as CM. At least, the goodwill of ordinary congressmen in AP would not be lost.

3.Jagan can prove his political abilities by not blinking now. If he can withstand the pressure and still can stay firm and hold on to the support (shouldn't be very difficult because the popular sentiment is with him), he will gain the required respect from 10 Janpath. Else, he will be taken lightly not just by the high command (a Union Minister of State may be given to him), but also by the aam Congress workers in AP.

4. I only wish this doesn't result in a Telugu sentiments Vs Delhi hegemony sort of thing. The last time this happened was in 1984, when NTR was undemocratically removed from power by the Congress appointed Governor Ram Lal.AP erupted in flames as a result, and the movement did not subside till NTR was reinstated.It is quite possible that Jagan's supporters, with the help of a strong public sentiment, can whip up a similar agitation now.

5.Finally, Telugus are a very sentimental and emotional lot. If the decision is seen as Delhi hegemony on Telugu sentiments, the high command will be killing the goose that laid 33 golden eggs in LS elections, apart from supplying a significant % of Cong campaign funds. I don't think Sonia and Rahul are that naive. But who knows ? Politics is a mysterious art.

If high command ignores Jagan and hands over the CM giri to an 'experienced' Congi without a mass base (Jaipal Reddy any one?), what are the chances of Jagan & Co splitting Congress in AP to form Congress (YSR) ? And Chandra Babu Naidu or Chiranjeevi supporting such a grouping from the outside ? Or (let me dream a bit here) Gali Janardhan Reddy of Karnataka BJP (Jagan's business partner and close friend) brokering an altogether different deal ?

No, I don't think 10 Janpath will let all this happen. If they have any political sense and a wee bit understanding of Telugu sentimentality, they would just go with Jagan.


Anonymous said…
Hi Kumar,
Could you please throw somelight on Jaga's persona and deeds, in the same vein you revealed YSRs psyche.
Anonymous said…
Thank you Kumar SAAB for these excellent series of articles.

These are the valuable things to be filed.

I would like to request you to share what happened with the children of YSR as not told in your 3rd piece.

I am that anonymous commenter.
Kumar Narasimha said…
Dear Anonymous,

Thanks for your comments.

All I can say about Jagan at this point is that he is a chip off the old block.He will need to work on his communication skills, especially Telugu diction.His ideology seems to be center right in economic policy.And when he becomes CM, the first thing he will do is to visit Chittoor for the Racchha Banda programme.

I don't want to discuss personal issues related to YSR's children as that is not proper.The family deserves the privacy, and those issues are any way not relevant to politics.
Anonymous said…
this is catch 22 situation.

short-term solution (for the current term, 2009-14): YSJ.
long-term solution (party future): No YSJ.

I think ultimately long-term interests take precedence. I don't see slightest of chances for YSJ.
Anonymous said…
Thank you sir for shedding light on my request. I have preserved your write-ups as one of the truthful literature.

I am sure YSJ won't become CM despite the hues and cries of gullible mass.

I predict Rosaiah will continue for some time. Perhaps, Undavalli Arun Kumar will come into picture.

Jaipal Reddy won't be accepted by YSJ team.

DS, Keshav and etc impossible to rein.

Purandeswari, Sabitha and Renuka double impossible.

Regarding personal issues, i wanted to know how ANIL KUMAR came into that family despite rejected by RAJA REDDY.
ijswamy said…
Let the grieving widow of YSR be made th CM immediately. Even Jagan will support. Other congress men are non entities. MrsY.Vijayalakshmi will certainly make a better CM than Mrs Rabri Devi.Sonia herself got into power only with this type of qualification.
Well. YSR and his son tried to chew more than what they could bite. Sonia and the central leadership have given enough hints that no one would be allowed to shadow the central leadership. They would not probably allow a new power centre that has potential to challenge their authority. And ofcourse you have a strange conicidence of all powerful congress leaders to die mysteriously that too mostly in air crashes.
I have been in all parts of AP and in Kadapa for past 20 years and I follow politics and crime in India for quite some time. Your articles are extremely professional and balanced. You have expressed a very fair view of the events. A chance search took me to your blog. It made a nice reading after all the biassed and emotional readings in the net. Great Job.
Kumar Narasimha said…
Dear Chandrasekhar,

Thanks for visiting the blog and the kind comments.

Irrespective of Jagan's qualifications for CM, I feel Congress would harm its prospects in AP if Telugu people are made to feel that Sonia & Co ignored the popular sentiment.

And, as has become the norm, Chiranjeevi seems to be taking another wrong step by getting close to Rosaiah.An obvious sign that he and his MLAs are for sale to the highest bidder when the inevitable test of strength happens.
Kumar Narasimha said…
Dear Ijswamy,

I can understand the sarcasm and pain in your comment.But from what I heard, a few DCC chiefs did actually propose Mrs.Y.S.Vijayalakshmi's name, but she declined :)

The latest is that Jagan will become MLA of Pulivendula and his sister Sharmila will contest as Kadapa MP.Jai Ho dynasty :)
SMR said…
Hello Kumar!
I've been analysing politics in AP & in India for quite sometime and Ur articles were unbiased & ur views are quite Possible situations ..whereas i wud also like to add up to ur points with the following situations
*leaving behind Caste,Family..etc wud like to know if there is any other congy who can hold at least 100 Mlas together till 2014 other than YSJR.
*Out of a great misfortune a little chance that the state got is to get a CM Below the age group of 45 people above this age group are always too busy in HYPOCRYTIC POLITICS rather than doing any Gud to the public.
*Yes i Agree that YSJ might be corrupt like anyother EX CM's Family..& am wont support that..but with the companies he had set up in AP many people are making a living..unlike other politicians who keep their money in Swiss Banks with which Only their family Survives.
* The last thing i wud like to say is if @all the SO CALLED CONGRESSHIGH COMMAND IGNORES YSJ the only person at benefit wud be non other than Mr.NCB Naidu.because it's not me ..but the analysts in all the channels are of the same view that without YSJ's suppport @least in a situation like this It is difficult that the Congress will survive in AP with the same strength till 2014 & by then it wud be too late for them to call him Backk & the chances of a New (YS congress) as u said is very much POSSIBLE..SOO "WAKE UP CONGRESS""!!
Kumar Narasimha said…
Dear SMR,

Thanks for the comment.

I am no fan of Congress.The very culture of high command is sickening in the context of a federal polity.If the elected MLAs of a State cannot exercise their rights, what luck will local self government at the grassroots have?

As I have stated earlier, it will be politically suicidal for Congress and especially for the image of Sonia and Rahul in AP, if CLP is not allowed to elect its leader democratically.CBN doesn't enter the picture till 2014 unless Congress does the unthinkable and willing to dismiss the Assembly to avoid making Jagan the CM.

Jagan may not be the ideal person to run AP.But he has the popular sentiment and MLA support with him.A dynasty angle enters the issue only if there are other qualified candidates with the requisite support.There is no such person in AP Congress.Hence, even a kid can see that Jagan needs to be given the chance to succeed or fail.
For those who have been following AP developments for the last three days, things are taking shape slowly but surely. The message is clear. Jagan is out and local strength will not be allowed to grow.

As expected, we see some noise that is stage managed to ensure the shrill voices of demand to make jagan a CM tones down to request / desire and then a scene is created to further shut them down. The spectre of showing disrespect to high command has come as expected though this particular event of tearing down posters was a surprise. Rest all is routine. Loyalists will come out and speak against this demands etc.

The impatience of Jagan's camp can be understood because it is a "now or never" kind of situation. New people will not allow them to run their empires of loot. In desperation, Jagan and co have overdone their roles and probably be eating a humble pie now.

They probably forgot the age old saying "Taadi tanne vadunte taladanne vadu untadu". These fellows work very carefully to ensure that every ward votes in their favour in their pocket holds and stamp down dissidence even at the grassroot level. But they failed to extend that argument to the national level and thought that the high command is happy because of money and seats flowing from AP. Thats where the judgement failed.

Weak state level leaders are congress assets and they will build such assets. The "high command" will certainly groom more power centres so that these regional fellows will fight among themselves and never challenge the ultimate authority of the first family.

The unfortunate part of the entire episode is that public opinion is carefully getting polarised in terms of caste or sympathy. The larger intrests of country are conveniently made to be forgotten in the wave of sympathy or telugu atma gouravam. What we are failing to see that a dangerous group which will not feel ashamed to blatantly loot the state and feed itself and its cronies is trying to barge into the secretariat. Not that all others are saints but this is worst form of cronyism. For those who are from kadapa or who watch these developments will know the kind of favouritism that YSR has built. I still remember the group photo of his swearing in where the body language of YSR and his extended family was evidently showing that now see what we will do and how we will eat. We are seeing the result of a CM with narrow agenda of using land as a tool. SEZ are acquired from poor farmers in name of development and land transferred to relatives and friends. There is no industry and at the same time so called lower classes are done for. It is matsya nyaya in its worst form. We can see how good the Raghuram cements, brahmani steels, reliance sez in kakinada, the famous fab city are all up and running. But who cares.
Kumar Narasimha said…
Dear Chandrasekhar,

Agree with a lot of your points. But now the focus has shifted to the flood situation. Makes me wonder if these man made floods have had an inadvertent ?) political spinoff for the high command :)