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Kadapa member of Parliament Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy stepped out of Chanchalguda jail on Tuesday evening, 16 months after he was arrested in a disproportionate assets case. Jagan, as the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) leader is popularly known, was given a tumultuous welcome when he emerged by party legislators and hundreds of activists. The police, which made heavy security arrangements, had a tough time controlling the surging crowd as Jagan's convoy proceeded from Chanchalguda to the posh Jubilee Hills area, where his residence and the party headquarters are located. Jagan's release from jail on bail about eight months ahead of the scheduled general elections is expected give a fillip to his party’s prospects in Andhra and Rayalaseema, together called Seemandhra. Political analysts say Jagan’s release is likely to affect the electoral prospects of both the ruling Congress and the opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in the state. Following the decision of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) on July 30 to accord statehood to the Telangana region, the YSRCP continued to focus on Seemandhra where the people are agitating for the past 50 days against the proposed bifurcation of the state. On the other hand, the TDP, which has its cadre spread over both Telangana and Seemandhra regions, seems to be the worst affected by the CWC decision, which was subsequently endorsed by the United Progressive Alliance. TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu maintained both Telangana and Seemandhra were like his “two eyes”, though the party had earlier given a letter to the Centre it would not oppose the creation of a Telangana state. The “two eyes” concept, which made him not extend open support either for the state's bifurcation or the united Andhra agitation, seems to have not cut ice with people of both regions. Consequently, his party is expected to pay a heavy price at the hustings. The Congress party is also expected to lose heavily in Seemandhra in the next elections, given the current mood of the people in the region. However, it is being perceived that the Congress will have a pre-election pact in Telangana with the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), which spearheaded the movement for separate statehood and a post-election understanding with the YSRCP, which is expected to corner a majority of the 175 assembly and 25 parliament seats in Seemandhra. As scuttling the prospects of the TDP seemed to have been the main target of both the TRS and the YSRCP, the main Opposition party in the state is unlikely to gain any support from the two parties.
It is also unlikely to have any electoral understanding with the Bharatiya Janata Party BJP. The BJP had been in favour of bifurcation of the state from the beginning and any electoral understanding with the party would hit the TDP's prospects in Seemandhra. So, if at all the TDP supports the BJP, people say, it will be only after elections and that, too, if the saffron party is in a position to form the government at the Centre.