When Jagan was arrested in the disproportionate assets case on May 27 last year, Sharmila came out to strengthen the party and instill confidence among the party’s ranks. She also campaigned for her party and achieved success. When Jagan was unable to come out of jail and at a time when the party’s morale started sagging, she started her Pada Yatra to enthuse the party leaders and cadres.
In the absence of Jagan, party leaders started grouping around her, seeking favours. This made her a powerful leader of the party, though she had not initially dreamt of leading. Now it is being said that Sharmila has begun preparing a strong group of hers, in the party.
There were also allegations that Sakshi paper was not giving importance to Sharmila’s yatra as she was becoming a power unto herself. YSR Congress opponents and papers supporting them also said that Jagan’s wife Bharati was angry with Sharmila for projecting herself and that there were also attempts to make her stop her yatra.
It was also said that Sharmila was hurt by Jagan offering his Kadapa Parliament seat to another relative, instead of her. Now it is being said that Sharmila has been preparing her own coterie in the party, while supporting her brother.
However, YSR Congress has been constantly dismissing these allegations. Though Sharmila also denounced the charges, political observers say that there were clear indications that she might turn into a second power centre in her party.
Though initial reports said that Sharmila would confine herself to her domestic duties and religious duties along with her husband and evangelist Brother Anil Kumar after Jagan comes out, now it is being said in the political circles that she had developed interest in politics after seeing the response of the people for her pada yatras.
She is also likely to contest the next elections, say sources.
Meanwhile Nandamuri Bala Krishna also appears to be turning into another power centre in the TDP. There were reports of such an possibility even before his formal announcement of entering politics, as Balayya has been actively taking part in the party’s matters. There were several instances where Balayya got tickets to his men in elections. While Jagan is in Jail, Chandrababu has been relentlessly touring. Both are unavailable to party leaders and aspirants of tickets. Because of this, aspirants of both the parties were doing the rounds to Sharmila and Balayya. TDP leaders are regularly seen around Balayya with a view to first get his grace to get the party ticket. It may be recalled that it was due to Jr. NTR that Chandrababu Naidu gave ticket to Kodali Nani in the previous elections. Won’t Naidu who had yielded to the pressure of Jr. NTR listen to Bala Krishna, question party leaders. This is the reason why most leaders are trying to win the favour of Bala Krishna to get the tickets. As the 2014 elections near, the number of leaders seeking direct favours from Bala Krishna would increase turning him into a major power centre within the party, even as Sharmila was growing as another power centre in her party, say political observers.