YSR Congress president, Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, draws huge crowd wherever he goes and whatever is the cause. This has been there from the day one of his political career, particularly after his father’s death in September 2009. He became a crowd puller in the State politics and continues to enjoy that tag. However, going by the 2014 elections, it is clear that the crowd puller had failed to convert the crowd into voters. It is understood that he has emerged as a perfect mass contact leader but had failed in poll management. It is not just enough to be campaigner to be successful in politics. One has to master the poll management, taking people to the polling booth and making them cast their vote in favour. A large gathering for election meeting is not enough. A large gathering at the polling booth is what is needed to be successful in politics. This is missing in the case of Jagan Mohan Reddy.
A large gathering in the queue lines at the polling booth would require some political mechanism at the grassroots. A party would have to organise the booth level committees to convert the crowd into voters. This is missing in the YSR Congress. Though majority of his voters are from the Scheduled Castes, for some reasons known to him, Jagan Mohan Reddy is ignoring them. There is not a single leader from these sections in the party, particularly after Jupudi Prabhakara Rao left the party. The presence of Meruga Nagarjuna is not felt much as he is confined to the SC Cell and not made a spokesman to represent the party or give voice for the party on behalf of the majority voter base that the party enjoys.
Interestingly, the SCs have not been the vote bank of Jagan Mohan Reddy initially. They were with the Congress for decades. But, they lined up for him when he was in trouble created by the Congress leadership. They voted for him and even would vote for him in the next election too. Because they are not ready to go back to the Congress anymore and will never go to the TDP. Still, they are not recognised and respected in the party. The party leadership is filled completely with the Reddy community to which Jagan Mohan Reddy belongs to. The Dalits, Christians and the Muslims have either no representation or their representation is limited to the frontal organisations such as SC Cell or Minorities Cell.
Not giving their due share in the party structure will not help Jagan Mohan Reddy to win their votes. It is for this reason he lost the by-election in Nandyal, though the majority votes his party received was from these sections. Several of them stayed away from the polling booths and did not vote. If Jagan Mohan Reddy or his party leaders refuse to accept this fact and have several other reasons for their defeat in Nandyal and continue to ignore Dalits and Muslims in the top level leadership, the party would taste the same defeat in the next election too.
While the Dalits own his party, Jagan Mohan Reddy is not owing them and giving them responsibilities in the party structure. His party from the top to bottom is filled with the Reddy leaders leaving no space for the Dalits and Muslims. This would be a hard reality that would go in favour of the TDP in the next elections too, if this is not corrected at least now.