YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) chief YS Jaganmohan Reddy has blamed both the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of failing Andhra Pradesh and said he would support at the Centre whoever fulfils the demand for a special category status for the state.
He spoke to Aurangzeb Naqshbandi about the national and assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh on April 11, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s minimum income scheme. Edited Excerpts:
What are the key issues in this election?
It is going to be a battle between credibility versus betrayal. [Chief minister] Chandrababu Naidu has betrayed Andhra Pradesh’s people. His entire governance, his promises of 2014 and what he delivered… all have fallen flat. This also includes the special category status. He was with the BJP for four years and his MPs were in the NDA [National Democratic Alliance] cabinet. Yet he did nothing about it. Corruption is also a big issue and in Andhra Pradesh, it has gone way beyond anybody’s imagination. People see through it. Then you have Amravati scam. Naidu knew where the capital was coming and he intentionally misled that capital was coming elsewhere and then he and his benamis bought land where the capital was actually coming. After they bought land, he announced the capital there. This actually translates to insider trading or breach of oath of secrecy. After they bought land, he ensured that the majority of such land was not acquired and got the adjoining land acquired. Whatever he acquired in the disguise of land pooling, he started giving to people of his choice at whatever rates he wanted. That is a big scam.
Are you confident of ousting Telugu Desam Party this time?
Last time, the difference between winning and losing was barely 1%. Today, the situation is totally different. Last time, Naidu had no anti-incumbency against him. He was in the Opposition and he could lie and people believed his lies. He also projected his nine years of chief ministership as experience and he also had a little bit of Modi euphoria and a little bit of Pawan Kalyan factor on his side. All that put together gave him those numbers in 2014.
You have linked your support to the next dispensation at the Centre to the special category status.
We have no faith in the national parties. Both the Congress and the BJP have betrayed us. On the floor of Parliament, Congress assured special category status at the time of [Andhra Pradesh]’s bifurcation [in 2014]. The BJP supported it and went a step ahead by promising 10 years of special category status. So, Congress betrayed us by breaking the state against our wishes and also by not incorporating this promise in the AP Reorganisation Act. Had they done so, we could have gone to the Supreme Court. They [BJP] have also failed us. The BJP included this in its manifesto and Modi promised 10 years special category status in Tirupati in 2014. And when he was in a position to deliver, he did nothing. So, he also cheated us. There is an element of mistrust when it comes to national parties. We will have good numbers God willing and thanks to KCR [Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao]. He [KCR] has also pledged support to our special category status demand. His 17 MPs added to our 25 will become a big chunk. God willing, it looks like a hung Parliament. So, for anybody wanting to form a government at the Centre, our support will be crucial. And our demand would be special category status. You sign and we are with you, whosoever it is.