Leader of Opposition in Andhra Pradesh Assembly and YSR Congress Party Chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy earned the name ‘Padayatrikudu’ in the course of his mass contact initiative Praja Sankalpa Yatra. On the occasion of Praja Sankalpa Yatra’s reaching the final stage, YS Jagan in a special interview to Sakshi TV opened up on wide range of issues like alliances in the upcoming elections, TDP, Congress, BJP, Special Category Status and national politics.
– Padayatra is integral to your family. Late Chief Minister Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy was elected to power following his State-wide padayatra. While you were busy interacting with people throughout your journey, certain issues in the political arena have been left unaddressed. What’s your take on this?
YSJ: Padayatra is a climax to our struggle in the capacity of the Opposition. In the Assembly, we could express public voice to some extent in the initial years. Later, the affairs of Assembly turned out to be undemocratic. Even as 23 of our MLAs got defected to the TDP, we had waited for 2 years for their suspension. But, some of them were made ministers. In the Assembly, democracy was being abused. Had we attended the Assembly, we would have remained as the ones who had accepted the undemocratic pactices of TDP. We decided to boycott the Assembly and to go to the masses and explain the reality. We made sure the national media noticed our fight.
– An Assembly without the Opposition allowed the ruling party to get away with in various issues. Do you think YSRCP gave a reply to the government’s shortcomings?
YSJ: The Assembly Speaker did not safeguard the democratic values in the affairs of the House. He did not look into the disqualification of the defected MLAs. On issues like Amaravati and SCS, we could explain to the people in a better way than in the House.
– Do you think YSRCP’s voice was heard in Parliament? Recently, the Lok Sabha MPs resigned from their posts.
YSJ: It was the same in the Parliament, where the BJP and TDP romanced for four years. We were not given the opportunities to voice the problems of the State.
– Chandrababu alleged that Telangana CM KCR is a junior Modi and that YS Jagan Mohan Reddy is a sub-junior Modi…?
YSJ: In 2014, the TDP, BJP and Pawan Kalyan fought together. Chandrababu called the YSR Congress as the ‘Pilla Congress’, back then. In the last four years, we were not associated with the Congress or any other party. After four years of romance and praise for each other, Chandrababu pulled out of NDA. With an intention to blame others for his failures, Chandrababu decided to make the BJP a scapegoat. And now, he is befriending the Congress. Ironically, Chandrababu befriended both BJP and Congress. It is YSRCP which stood alone all through. The trio of PM Modi, Chandrababu and Pawan Kalyan failed to implement the promises on loan waivers, industries, jobs, SCS and many others. Chandrababu’s agenda was to create a false picture through his media management skills.
– On Telangana results..
People of Telangana gave a fitting reply to Chandrababu, who thinks that people are not aware and intelligent. In constituencies which have Seemandhra settlers in large numbers, the Praja Kutami candidates lost by huge margins.
– On KCR’s comments over Opposition’s role in dealing with Chandrababu….
It is not clear as to with what intention and context he said those words. Irrespective of it, we should appreciate KCR’s intent to come forward to write a letter to the Centre in support of SCS to AP, if need be. The Congress promised to provide the SCS for a period of 10 years to AP. PM Modi also repeated it in his Tirupati meeting. Chandrababu threatened to file PD Acts on those who say SCS. How could the SCS movement go forward if the CM himself threatens those fighting for SCS?In this context, KCR, as an outsider from Telangana, with its 17 MPs, came forward to support our cause. We should appreciate it.
– Chandrababu is accusing KCR of using the Telangana sentiment in the recent Assembly polls.
KCR contested as an anti-Congress, anti-BJP entity and won in Telangana. Chandrababu tried to forge an alliance with TRS at the time of Harikrishna’s death.
– The TDP, BJP and Pawan Kalyan alliance created a 1.5% vote difference for YSRCP in 2014. Will you pursue the idea of joining hands with Pawan Kalyan?
The reason behind the lies and ugly political scenario of today lies in Pawan Kalyan, Chandrababu Naidu and Narendra Modi. Including the SCS issue, all the promises have been ignored. All three of them are equally responsible for the deception. Now, in this context, we will face these parties, united or independent, in the upcoming elections.
– Will you join hands with the Congress now that it is promising the SCS?
People of AP have lost a great deal already. After the deception of the three parties in 2014, we are not in a position to trust any party that promises to accord SCS. We need to get 25 MPs to demand SCS at the national level.
– Chandrababu says YS Jagan will stunt the development in the State if he come to power..
It is laughable that Chandrababu is talking about development. Where exactly is development in AP? In Polavaram, only one out of the 48 gates have been built, a plan has not been prepared and there is no DPR till now. In Amaravati, there is no permanent structure. There is no progress in the Capital city because it is a scandal. All the temporary structures are of bad quality. Chandrababu’s yellow media’s is indulging in Goebbelsian propaganda. His white papers are a farce. Every commoner opines that there was no development in the last four years.
It qualifies to be called development if the poor’s hospitals, schools, roads are developed. Productivity and MSPs for farmers should be increased if Chandrababu is concerned about development.
– What will you do if you come to power?
Chandrababu diverted and misled the people saying the Capital would be built at Nuzvid and other places. His benamis, his Heritage company (14 acres) bought lands in the Amaravati Capital Area. When it came to land pooling, his benami lands and his own lands were exempted. Lingamaneni’s lands were not included in the land pooling area. A small fraction of his benami lands were included in land pooling. Later, with the Zoning proposal, Chandrababu cheated the farmers. For random prices and random areas, lands were sold in Capital area. It amounts to insider trading. A CM would promise not to disclose Constitutional secrets in the Oath of secrecy at the time of swearing-in.
“Farmers should benefit from Capital area, not politicians.”
– You have addressed all walks of life in your promises (Navaratnas). Will you stick to your stance on farm loan waivers?
Political leaders should have credibility. In 2014, I said it was impossible to implement loan waivers. I have just a two-page manifesto. I give lot of value to credibility. I do not wish to ask for votes if I don’t implement my manifesto promises. It is untypical of me to give a book full of manifestos.
– Mamata Banerjee and PM Modi are planning on implementing KCR’s Rythu Bandhu for farmers’ assistance…
YSJ: Before anybody could speak on it, I had in the YSRCP Plenary before commencing the padayatra announced Rythu Bharosa, a scheme that would assure Rs 12,500 Rs per farmer’s family per year. With the scheme, a large pool of small-scale farmers would be rescued. The assistance we give would cover 90% of the input investment. If we were to increase the GSDP, we should focus on farmer’s growth. Thereby, village economies would be boosted. Chandrababu is today acting as the captain of brokers. He is selling the grains at a price of 2-3 times the farmer’s price. With a budget of Rs 4,000 crore, a calamity relief fund would be created.
– Narendra Modi said to the BJP workers that he had no clue as to where the Rs 20,000 crore given to AP government were spent…
YSJ: As per Chandrababu’s statements in 2017, the TDP government was happy with the Centre’s budget. Until the 2017-18 budget was placed, Chandrababu accepted the BJP’s fund alloacation.
– On the possibility of TDP-Jana Sena alliance…
YSJ: I would welcome it if TDP and Jana Sena fight the polls together. Why should they act as if they are two separate parties? They should come together and fight YSRCP.
– On submission of the case on attack on you to NIA..
YSJ: The VIP lounge in an airport is the most secured area. How could the culprit evade so many layers of protection? The restaurant owner Harshavardhan Chowdhary was a TDP ticket aspirant in 2014. How could they get the NOC?
The High Court recently raised doubts over the CCTV cameras. For a period of three months after I had entered Visakhapatnam district, the cameras were switched off. An hour after the attack, the DGP said the accused was a YSRCP sympathiser. After all this, I had behaved in a composed manner and went straight to Hyderabad for treatment. Chandrababu made a mockery of the incident. Only a third party probe would do justice in the matter.
– On the argument that the High Court bifurcation would delay the YS Jagan attack case…
YSJ: Surprisingly, Chandrababu filed a petition saying the AP government wants to shift the HC to AP. The Telangana government filed a reverse petition saying it had no objection to continue the AP HC in a separate building. In this context, the HC was bifurcated by the Supreme Court.
– Probably YSRCP is the biggest loser when it comes to the defections of legislators…
YSJ: If an MLA or MP wants to shift to another party, he/she should have the courage to resign from the post and go for re-election.
– Chandrababu said the TDP candidates for the upcoming elections would be announced in January. There is speculation that YS Jagan would make a big announcement on 9 January in Ichchapuram..
YSJ: Why should we take it that announcement of candidates is a big deal? In politics, maintaining ethical values is of utmost importance.
– Similar to Dr YSR, you have entered politics at a young age. Have you ever regretted being in politics?
YSJ: Naturally, the idea crosses the mind sometimes. In 2014, we had lost against TDP by a small margin of votes. That 1.3 crore people have voted for me and are depended on me is a big inspiration to me always and it is always at the back of my mind.