HYDERABAD: The Congress’ campaign against YSR Congress president YS Jagan Mohan Reddy is turning vicious with each passing day with the Congress high command keeping a close watch on how each one is doing its best in Jagan-bashing.
Chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, who has been accused of having a soft corner for Jagan, suddenly broke his silence and started tearing him apart every day, which has surprised many leaders in the Congress.
His criticism had become so incisive that his comments at Tirupati recently attracted the attention of the Election Commission also. The Election Commission sought to watch the video clipping to ascertain whether Kiran was using religion as a device to reap political benefit. (Kiran had said if one voted for others implying Jagan Mohan Reddy, one would be committing an act of sacrilege on Tirumala).
One leader said: “I am surprised why Kiran Kumar Reddy has become so vicious in his attack on Jagan. Till now he had not bothered to even acknowledge his existence, leave alone making any harsh comments on him.”
Though PCC president Botcha Satyanarayana has been hitting out at the Kadapa MP, the chief minister’ torrential rhetoric against Jagan is viewed as the result of the party high command’s directive that the campaign should be high voltage and at any stage, the party should not appear weak before Jagan’s party.
The Central leadership wants Jagan’s image to be damaged without hurting the image of late YSR. The Congress leaders believe that this is the most opportune time to strike at Jagan since the CBI was now after him and has already hit him below the belt by freezing his bank accounts. The party leaders should campaign in a clever way that whatever sympathy that might generate in favour of Jagan because of the action of the CBI should be nipped in the bud. That is the reason why Kiran Reddy’s subtle observation that attack on Congress was nothing but attack on late YSR since both of them were inseparable.
The party central leadership wants the Congress to fight a spirited battle with Jagan. Even if it goes down in some constituencies, Jagan should be made to earn every vote that he gets. Even if the party goes down, it should go down fighting. The campaign would become more intense from May 22 as the Parliament session would end and the Central leadership would be focusing its attention on the state.
“Even without the high command telling him, the chief minister had decided to target Jagan and he was doing it. He in fact was waiting for the election campaign to begin. He is in fact against making political allegations against anyone in official programmes,’’ a leader who is close to the chief minister said.
AICC observer KB Krishna Murthy describes Kiran’s frontal attack on the Kadapa MP as a shrewd strategy since it would have lot of weight in it. ‘’Had been hitting out at Jagan since beginning, no one would have taken him seriously,” he said.