This may be with a rider that Andhra Pradesh be granted special category status.
YSR Congress president Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, who recorded a historic win with 151 out of 175 Assembly seats in Andhra Pradesh, will be sworn in as the Chief Minister in Vijayawada at 11.30 am on Thursday. However, before that he will be calling on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi on Sunday.
Though the meeting is billed as a courtesy call by Jagan, sources in the YSR Congress said that he is likely to express his willingness to join the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre, with a rider that Andhra Pradesh should be granted the special category status. A newly elected MLA of YSR Congress told this newspaper: “This is a general idea, though there is no proposal on this as such at this stage.”
Jagan knows well that the Modi-led government doesn’t need any new allies as it had secured a sufficient number of seats in the Lok Sabha. However, as Jagan is a natural ally to the NDA camp as his arch rival TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu is associated with the Congress-led Opposition camp, there is a distinct possibility of YSR Congress coming closer to the BJP sooner or later.
Achieving special status to Andhra was Jagan’s main poll plank and he had declared that he would support anyone at the Centre provided they agreed to grant special status to AP. Now, he cannot brush aside his own demand and join hands with the BJP immediately after the elections, sources said. At the same time, the party leaders shared the view that Jagan couldn’t afford to be away from the BJP-led coalition at this stage for a variety of reasons, apart from political considerations. For example, the financial condition of Andhra Pradesh is precarious and the state badly needs liberal assistance from the Centre in the coming two years.
Likewise, Jagan told chief secretary L.V. Subramanyam, who called on him immediately after the declaration of results on Thursday, that he should arrange a series of review meetings on all major issues confronting the state, including the Polavaram irrigation project, Amaravati capital city project and the difficult financial situation, from 1 to 5 June.
On all these issues, if Jagan wants to take fresh decisions, the cooperation of the Centre is a must and the new government cannot afford a confrontationist stance. In fact, Jagan could have called on the Prime Minister after being sworn in as the Chief Minister—incidentally PM Modi too is being sworn in on 30 May—but going to Delhi on Sunday indicates the former’s respect to the latter.
Jagan was elected as the leader of the YSRCP on Saturday in Vijayawada. Later he called on Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan to stake claim to form government. Jagan also met the Telangana Chief Minister to invite him to his swearing-in ceremony. KCR might go to Jagan’s oath-taking event.
Even before taking charge, Jagan has begun issuing directions to officials and taking control of administrative affairs. Jagan had suggested to Subramanyam to work with former chief secretary Ajay Kallam, who is likely to be appointed as the adviser to the new government. Jagan has already started his exercise on bureaucratic reshuffle after the first week of June.