Hyderabad: The Congress leadership may be confident of UPA Presidential nominee Pranab Mukherjee’s victory, but back in the state, the possibility of cross-voting by the loyalists of YS Jagan Mohan Reddy in the Congress haunts the ruling party. Moreover, state Congress leadership is anxiously waiting for the stand of the YSR Congress over the candidature of Mukherjee. If YSRC takes a stand opposing the candidature of Pranab, some MPs and MLAs in the Congress, who are loyal to Jagan, may resort to cross-voting as it would be a secret ballot.
In the wake of this threat, chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and PCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana began efforts to persuade the legislators and MPs from Congress, who are moving closely with the leaders of the YSRC, to follow the party line. State Congress leadership also fears that some disgruntled MLAs, who are not happy with the working style of the chief minister, could indulge in cross-voting to send a message to the high command.
Meanwhile, Kiran Reddy and Botcha held a meeting with chief whip Gandra Venkata Ramana Reddy and other whips of the Congress to formulate a strategy to make all the MLAs of the ruling party to vote for Pranab. As per the advice of the chief minister and the PCC president, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) office incharge Srikanth has started making phone calls to all the CLP members to make themselves available in Hyderabad two days ahead of the polling.
The possibility of cross-voting by the loyalists of YS Jagan Mohan Reddy in the Congress haunts the ruling party.
The Congress camp managers even summoned information and public relations minister DK Aruna, who is now in United States, to come back to Hyderabad by July 17. Chief minister Kiran Reddy, in the capacity as the CLP leader, also sent letters to Congress MLAs and MPs asking them to exercise their franchise on the polling day without fail and vote for Pranab Mukherjee.
The Congress has a strength of 155 MLAs in the State Assembly now. Of these, Eluru MLA Alla Nani and Bobbili legislator S Venkata Krishna Ranga Rao have resigned in support of Jagan Mohan Reddy. However, their resignations have been kept pending by Speaker Nadendla Manohar. Nani and Ranga Rao may follow the line of the YSRC in the Presidential polls.