Sending the ruling Congress in the firefighting mode once again, 27 MLAs and two Lok Sabha members apart from two TDP legislators on Monday submitted resignations in protest against naming former chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy in the FIR related to the ongoing investigation against his son Jagan Mohan Reddy.
They alleged that the party leadership had used the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as a tool to discredit their dead leader as part of a conspiracy to politically finish his family.
“YSR had single-handedly revived the party in Andhra Pradesh and brought it back to power first in 2004 and then in 2009 apart from sending an overwhelming number of MPs helping the UPA to form the government twice at the Centre. We owe our electoral victory to our beloved leader. How can we accept the blasphemy against such a great man,” former minister Pilli Subhash Chandra Bose told the media after submitting their resignations to the Assembly secretary.
Though most of those who resigned on Monday had already declared their allegiance to YSR Congress president and Kadapa MP Jagan, their decision to resign in such a large number came as a surprise to the Congress leadership. The rebel group has also appealed to other MLAs to resign from the party and posts on the same grounds.
Meanwhile, about 16 MLAs of the Praja Rajyam Party formally joined the Congress following the announcement of merger recently. With the entry of these MLAs along with the support of eight more members of MIM party, the Congress government will be able to maintain the requisite strength in the Assembly above the half-way mark.
PCC president B Satynarayana said on Monday's resignations would not pose any threat to the government.
The Congress' strength in the House comes down to around 130 following the resignation of 27 MLAs, way below the half way mark of 147 (total 294). While it needs at least 148 members to continue, the addition of 16 newly-joined MLAs will take the total tally to 146. Here the MIM helps, which extends support to the government from outside with 8 MLAs. About three independent MLAs are also extending support, it is said. With this, it gets the support of almost 156 members, the original tally it had got in the 2009 elections.
While the CBI is swiftly moving ahead in the ongoing investigation, ordered by the AP High Court, into the alleged amassment of wealth by Jagan through quid pro quo investments from companies that got favours from his father as chief minister, the mention of YSR's name in the FIR has given an opportunity to Jagan loyalists to launch a political battle against the Congress and the government.
In the FIR filed on Aug 17, the CBI said Jagan had entered into a criminal conspiracy with his father YSR and other companies and individuals to amass wealth in violation of various laws including the Prevention of Corruption Act.