The ruling party suffered another setback on Saturday when Congress MLA from Bobbilli, Sujay Ranga Rao, gave strong indications of switching loyalties to the YSR Congress party.
Mr. Ranga Rao, a legistator for the third term, called on honorary president of YSR Congress Mrs. Vijayamma at her Lotus Pond residence here to express solidarity with Mr. YS Jaganmohan Reddy whose arrest seemed imminent.
The Congress MLA flew in here from Visakhapatnam to call on YS Jagan but he was intercepted at the Hyderabad airport by Minister for Medical Education Kondru Murali Mohan and an aide of Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy. They tried hard to prevail upon him to drop plans to meet YSR Congress leaders and even made him speak to the Chief Minister.
Mr. Ranga Rao was, however, unwilling to oblige and reportedly stated that he was given a short shrift by the Congress leadership in spite of being a senior MLA. His association with YSR Congress leaders comes as a big embarrassment to APCC president Botcha Satyanarayana as Mr. Ranga Rao hails from his native Vizianagaram district.
On Friday, a Congress MP Sabbam Hari and an MLA, Alla Nani, had accompanied Mr. Jaganmohan Reddy to Dilkusha Guest House where the latter was summoned for examination by the CBI. They joined him again today. Caught off guard by these developments, the APCC Screening and Enquiry Committee chairman K. Satyanarayana Raju met the APCC chief and later announced that a show cause notice would be served on Mr. Alla Nani on Monday and suitable disciplinary action recommended to the Congress high command against the MP.
Meanwhile, Mr. Sabbam Hari claimed that two or three MLAs would join the YSR Congress party before the end of the day on Saturday. He told reporters that some more legislators would defect in the coming few days.
Before leaving for Dilkusha Guest House, Mr. Jaganmohan Reddy told a television channel that he was getting feelers from Congress and TDP MLAs about their willingness to join his party. But, he would be choosy about whom to admit. At the same time, he did not foresee any threat to the stability of the Kiran Kumar Reddy Government as he was sure that the Telugu Desam would extend support to it.