Jagan challenges Congress to go for bypolls to 17 seats

Hyderabad : A day after 17 rebel legislators openly came out in his support, YSR Congress party leader Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy Tuesday challenged Andhra Pradesh’s ruling Congress to disqualify them and go for by-elections.

He also predicted that both the ruling Congress and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) would lose their deposits in the by-elections.

“If they have the guts, let them go for elections in all 17 constituencies in one go rather than making an issue of this and going for elections in phases. Let us go to people, face the elections and see who the people are with. They are with sincere politicians and our party stands with sincerity,” he told reporters.

He termed as “historic” the move of 17 Congress legislators loyal to him to support the no-confidence motion moved by TDP.

“They have re-defined politics by ignoring the offers of the ruling party and withstanding the pressure. They cast their votes in favour of farmers knowing very well that this will lead to their disqualification, and in turn, by-elections.”

The Member of Parliament from Kadapa alleged that the Congress party threatened one legislator that he would be eliminated and warned another that he would not be allowed to move in his constituency. A woman member was threatened with a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry against her husband, who works in the income tax department.

“They offered cars full of cash. The MLAs were asked to just drive home with the cars parked outside with cash in it,” alleged Jagan, as the young leader is popularly known.

A total of 19 legislators of Jagan group including his mother Y.S. Vijayamma and a rebel legislator belonging to Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) voted in favour of the no-confidence motion, which was defeated in the assembly last night.

Jagan also alleged that TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu had colluded with Congress to move the no-confidence motion to put legislators supporting him into trouble. He said had Naidu moved the same motion six months ago before the merger of PRP with Congress, the government would have gone.

“Naidu did not move the motion this time out of affection for farmers. But whatever political reasons Naidu had, we ignored that. We knew the government will not fall but the cause of farmers was more important for us,” Jagan said while lashing out at TDP president for attacking his late father, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy during debate on the motion.

Jagan said the Congress had lost moral right to rule while Naidu had lost the right to be a leader. “The motion has exposed true colours of both the Congress and the TDP,” he said.

Jagan, who had support of 26 Congress legislators a couple of months ago, said conscience and not the numbers were important for him and his party.

The young leader, who is facing CBI inquiry into his assets, said he did not bother if CBI heat is turned on him. He noted out that a hue and cry was made over his alleged business links with former Karnataka minister and jailed mining baron G. Janardhana Reddy.

“The CBI has already filed charge sheet. Has my name figured in it,” asked Jagan while exuding confidence that same thing would happen in his case.

“Let the CBI do their probing. It is a long drawn battle and I am prepared for,” he added.

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