The ruling Congress in Andhra Pradesh got a fresh shock today as its MLA from Bobbili in Vizianagaram district, Venkata Sujay Krishna Ranga Rao Ravu switched over to the YSR Congress of Kadapa MP Y S Jaganmohan Reddy.
The distress signals started flashing in the Congress camp yesterday when its Eluru MLA Alla Kali Krishna Srinivas (Nani) surfaced in the Jagan camp and left enough indications that many more legislators were ready to follow suit.
Vizianagaram is the native district of Pradesh Congress Committee president Botsa Satyanarayana and he always used to claim that not a single legislator from north-coastal Andhra (Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam districts) would ever jump on to the Jagan's bandwagon.
Proving Mr Botsa's claims hollow, Narsannapeta MLA Dharmana Krishna Das from Srikakulam district defied the Congress and joined Jagan. Mr Das is the elder brother of state Roads and Buildings Minister Dharmana Prasada Rao.
Now, Ranga Rao gave a rude shock to the PCC chief by walking into the YSR Congress this morning. He was elected to the state Assembly twice in 2004 and 2009. He hasn't yet submitted his resignation from his post, Congress sources said.
When Alla Nani accompanied Jagan to the Dilkusha guest house yesterday, where the latter was interrogated by the CBI in a disproportionate assets case, Mr Botsa warned of taking disciplinary action against those who defied the party. Going by the trend, no one seems to be taking the warning seriously.
There are reports that a few other MLAs from coastal districts belonging to Congress as well as Telugu Desam Party are ready to switch over to the YSR Congress in the next few days.
Interestingly, Jagan himself indicated that all such leaders might not be welcomed into his party. "Many leaders are coming forward to join YSRC but I am being choosy and picky," Jagan told NDTV this morning before he proceeded to the Dilkusha Guest House in Hyderabad, where the CBI is interrogating him.
Nani sailed with Jagan for some months before he was "won over" by the Chief Minister with the promise of allocating funds in the name of "constituency development."
Accordingly, Nani stayed back in the Congress only to crossover, in what is being seen as a "calculated step".
Some other young legislators of Congress, who hobnobbed with Jagan for a while before they were lured back by the Chief Minister with the promise of fund allocation, are again said to be looking towards the YSR Congress.