Being the fifth largest party in Parliament, YSRCP has 22 MPs and hence the party’s support is crucial to ensure a smooth sail for the NDA’s presidential candidate.

Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy with Prime Minister Narendra Modi
news Politics Thursday, June 16, 2022 - 20:45

The Presidential election is a golden opportunity for the YSRCP to demand the special category status for Andhra Pradesh, which has been a long-unfilled dream for the state. The YSRCP, which is the fifth largest party in the Parliament, has 22 MPs. The party’s support is crucial for the NDA to ensure a smooth sail in the upcoming election.

As the day of voting for the Presidential election nears, NDA has its hopes set on the AIADMK, BJD and the YSRCP. The Narendra Modi government is a little short of 20,000 votes to ensure a smooth sail for its Presidential candidate. And this gap is what puts the spotlight on the three regional parties. The YSRCP has supported the NDA candidates for the presidential and vice-presidential polls. However, the BJD did not support the NDA candidate in 2017 for the presidential polls.

As the YSRCP is on the fence, having not yet revealed who it will support in the Presidential election, it has the leverage to demand a special category status (SCS) in return for the its support to the NDA’s Presidential candidate. Whether Jagan Mohan Reddy will grab the opportunity to bail out the NDA in exchange for SCS for Andhra Pradesh, and whether the NDA will give in to the demand or look to other parties for support, is what remains to be seen.

TDP National General Secretary Nara Lokesh has challenged Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy to walk the talk and demand Special Category Status for the state in return for support in the upcoming Presidential election. He said, “Vijay Sai Reddy has claimed that YSRCP’s support is crucial for NDA’s candidate to become the President. People gave you 22 MPs in order to achieve Special Category Status. If your fight for SCS before the elections were true, will you dare to declare that you would extend support in the Presidential polls only if SCS is granted? Will you bend their necks or will you bow down before them for relief from your cases?” The “case” being referred to here are the disproportionate cases being investigated by the CBI and ED against Jagan Mohan Reddy.  

The TDP also released an edit of two old videos of Jagan Mohan Reddy, challenging him to demand for SCS in exchange for support for the NDA. In the first video, which is from before Jagan became the CM, he can be heard saying, “If 25 MPs out of the total of 25 are in our hands, the pressure we mount on the Union government would be at the highest level. There won’t be any pre-poll alliance.” In the second video, where Jagan addresses the media after his maiden meeting with PM Modi, he said, “Had the BJP got only 250 seats, the BJP would have formed the government only after signing the SCS file. Unfortunately, it did not happen. Because unfortunately it didn’t happen, we can only go on conveying our concerns.”

Now that the ball in YSRCP’s court, the opposition is demanding that Jagan walk the talk and extend conditional support to NDA in return for SCS.

The demand for Special Category Status

Ever since bifurcation, Andhra Pradesh has demanded a special category status. Several times, Jagan Mohan Reddy has reiterated with conviction that Andhra Pradesh would be granted Special Category Status. In 2019, after a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Jagan requested Shah to soften PM's heart on granting SCS to Andhra. After a meeting with PM Narendra Modi, Jagan told reporters, "Today, we might not get it (Special Category Status). We have to be at somebody's mercy but I will remind him (Modi) again, and someday, things will change."

In 2019, Andhra Pradesh Assembly and the State Legislative Council unanimously passed resolutions urging the Union government to grant the promised SCS to the state while rejecting any special package in lieu of it. CM Jagan himself had moved the resolution.

Participating in the Governing Council meeting of Niti Aayog chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in February 2021, Chief Minister Jagan said that bifurcation resulted in the state being deprived of a tier-1 city, infrastructure, employment opportunities and financial resources. He had also added that according it SCS is the only solution and that rapid industrialisation of the state is possible.

Odisha Chief Minister-led BJD, has often maintained a distance from the opposition camp and backed the BJP-led NDA. While the AIADMK which is in alliance with the saffron party in Tamil Nadu, it will be interesting to watch whether the YSRCP will again go the NDA way. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSRCP is not in an alliance with the BJP in Andhra Pradesh but however, has consistently supported them.

Controversy over Mamata’s invitation

At a time when opposition parties are banding together against the NDA in the upcoming Presidential elections, YSRCP’s position has sparked debate. While it was claimed initially that Mamata did not invite YSRCP, later when the signed invite surfaced, it raised questions on why Jagan ignored the invitation.

The Election Commission of India will conduct the voting for the Presidential election on July 18 and the votes will be counted on July 21.  The total votes in the collegium presently is 10,86,431 and the halfway figure is 5,43,216 votes. The NDA has a total of 5,25,706 votes in the presidential collegium. Last month, BJP Chief Naveen Patnaik and YSRCP Chief Jagan Mohan Reddy had met PM Modi. Though it was maintained that the meeting was regarding state issues, it is likely that their parties’ support for the NDA candidate was also discussed.  

READ: Three reasons why KCR decided to skip Mamata’s opposition meeting in Delhi

 

 

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