Hyderabad: Several rebel Congress MLAs who had joined the YSR Congress led by Jaganmohan Reddy are considering returning to the ruling party in Andhra Pradesh, according to political observers.

Growing buzz in the political circles is that majority of the 26 Congress MLAs, who had shifted their loyalty to YSR Congress are now retracting.

State unit Congress president Botsa Satyanarayana and government whip Kondru Murali Mohan have indicated that many of the "rebel" legislators have sent feelers about their inclination to return to the party fold.

What is prompting the MLAs, who gravitated to Jagan two months back, to do a rethink on their decision is the "cold-shoulder" given to them by the Kadapa MP, political observers say.

Two days ago at a meeting with the MLAs and some seniorleaders, who were supposed to be backing him, Jagan reportedly spoke harshly and even suggested that those "who are finding it uneasy here" might go back to the Congress.

The son of late chief minister Y S R Rajasekhara Reddy particularly spit fire on a legislator from Telangana and a couple of other leaders, leaving other MLAs red-faced.

According to political observers, another factor in favour of Congress is that the TRS' plan of "attracting" some more Congress and TDP MLAs into its fold under 'Operation Akarsh' has hit a roadblock amid indications that the Central government may soon announce its decision on the separate statehood issue.

The TRS had to remain content with the crossover of only three MLAs from the ruling party. Although TRS spread the word that three more MLAs from the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) were all set to switch sides, the legislators themselves debunked such talk.

Alleging that TRS is resorting to such false propaganda to further its political interests, MLAs Hanumanth Shinde, P Ramulu and S Devaiah asserted that they will remain in TDP and fight for the cause of Telangana and there was no question of joining TRS.

These developments have brought cheer back in the Congress camp as they effectively neutralise any immediate threat to the Kiran Kumar Reddy government, the observers say.

Also, the TDP's reluctance to move a no-confidence motion against the government at this stage has come as a shot in the arm for Congress leadership.

"The biggest challenge for us now is to cross the Telangana barrier. We have almost come close it and once we cross it, the road ahead becomes clear," a senior minister remarked.

(Agencies)