Weeks before the Lok Sabha and state assembly elections, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy is facing trouble on two fronts.While there has been a series of defections from his party to the opposition parties like the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Jana Sena, things don’t look good on the family front as well.


After Jagan Reddy’s decision to appoint in-charges for Lok Sabha constituencies, party MPs like Sanjeev Kumar from Kurnool, Vallabhaneni Balashowry from Machilipatnam, Lavu Sri Krishna Devarayulu from Narasaraopet, Raghu Rama Krishna Raju from Narasapuram and Magunta Sreenivasalu Reddy from Ongole have left the party.

Various MPs and MLAs of the party are now joining the rival TDP.

The latest to leave was Vemireddy Prabhakar Reddy, who is a Rajya Sabha MP. He has secured the TDP ticket from Nellore.

Among MLAs, Vasantha Krishna Prasad of Mylavaram joined the TDP along with Vemireddy on 2 March. Arani Srinivasulu of Chittoor is likely to join the Jana Sena. He was suspended by the party on 3 March, after he met Jana Sena leader Pawan Kalyan in Hyderabad.

The trouble is mounting on the family front too.

Apart from the decision of his sister Y S Sharmila to join the Congress, which is well known, one of Jagan Reddy’s cousins, Suneetha Nareddy, recently urged people not to vote for her brother.

“This government should not come back. The two accused Avinash Reddy and Bhaskar Reddy are being shielded by the YSRCP led state government. If this government comes back to power, there is no hope for justice,” she was reported as saying.

She has alleged that because of Jagan Reddy, the investigation (though being handled by the CBI) into the murder of her father Y S Vivekananda Reddy is not being done properly.

Vivekananda Reddy is the younger brother of Jagan’s father and former Andhra chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy. He was the MP from Kadapa from 1999 to 2009.

He was found dead in his house in Pulivendula of Kadapa district in March 2019, months before the Lok Sabha elections. The death was initially said to be due to a heart attack. However, after the discovery of blood stains and injury marks, it was understood to be a case of murder.

While this is not the first time Vivekananda Reddy’s family has alleged improper investigation, and we don’t know how much of an electoral impact will it have, the YSRCP’s reaction saying that Suneetha is a pawn of the TDP shows that her statements are putting Jagan Reddy in discomfort.

What is adding to Jagan Reddy’s apparent discomfort with defections and family feuds is the rising stock of the TDP in the state.

According to the latest Mood of the Nation poll by India Today, the TDP under Chandrababu Naidu is projected to secure victory in 17 out of 25 Lok Sabha seats in Andhra Pradesh. Conversely, the ruling YSRCP is anticipated to claim just eight seats.

Defections and family feuds are only complicating Jagan Reddy’s efforts to fight the TDP.

This article first appeared in www.swarajyamag.com and it belongs to them.