Hyderabad: The Congress party faced another political crisis in Andhra Pradesh on Monday as 24 legislators resigned their assembly seats to protest the inclusion of late chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy as a conspirator in a case filed against his son and party rebel Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, who has been charged with amassing wealth disproportionate to his income when the senior Reddy was in power.
Three other Congress members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) who had offered to give up their seats in July as part of the campaign for a separate Telangana state said they will press speaker Nadendla Manohar to accept those resignations. Manohar had rejected the resignations the first time.
Two MLAs from the opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) also resigned as part of the show of support for Jagan Mohan Reddy, bringing to 29 the number of legislators openly backing him. The assembly has 294 members. Two Congress members of Parliament—Sabbam Hari and Mekapati Rajamohan Reddy—have also announced their intention to resign.
The Congress MLAs travelled by bus to the legislature and handed in their resignations to Raj Sadaram, secretary of the legislature, in the absence of the speaker and the deputy speaker.
“We don’t have faith in the Congress party. Our resignations should be accepted,” said Pilli Subhash Chandra Bose, one of the legislators who resigned. He said the legislators had also submitted their resignations from the Congress party.
The Congress, including the 17 members of the Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) that has merged with it, has 175 seats in the assembly. If the resignations of all 27 Congress supporters of Jagan Mohan Reddy are accepted, it would reduce the party’s strength in the assembly to 149. The Congress also has the support of 10 other MLAs, preserving a majority in the house.
It’s the second political crisis the party is facing in Andhra Pradesh, a state where it has also been riven on regional lines because of the campaign for Telangana statehood.
Jagan Mohan Reddy resigned from the Congress and the Lok Sabha in November, formed an outfit called YSR Congress Party in March and fought a May byelection in which he was re-elected to Parliament. Jagan Mohan Reddy, who declared assets of Rs365 crore before the May poll, rebelled against the Congress after being sidelined by the party leadership following the death of his father in a September 2009 helicopter crash.
The Central Bureau of Investigation is probing the assets of Jagan Mohan Reddy after filing a case in which the businessman-politician was accused of attracting investments to his companies by doling out favours such as land allotments and mining leases during the five years his father was chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. The senior Reddy led the Congress to power in the state in 2004 and 2009.