Accusing Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu of "alluring and purchasing" some of his party MLAs, YSR Congress president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy on Thursday dared him to get the defected legislators to resign from their posts and seek a fresh mandate.
"If you have any shame and guts, make the defected legislators to quit from their posts and face by-elections. Let's then see who really enjoys people's support," Jagan told reporters in his native Kadapa.
Jagan went on to dub the Telugu Desam President as "tikka Chandrababu" (crazy) and accused him of "alluring and purchasing" some of his party legislators.
This was Jagan's first reaction in the backdrop of the defection of five YSRC MLAs and one MLC into the Telugu Desam Party in the last four days.
"The MLAs were offered Rs 20 crore, Rs 30 crore each. Besides, mining leases, contracts and Cabinet berths were promised. But it doesn't make any difference to us even if four or five legislators jump sides," Jagan said.
â€œwhere was the money coming from? Corruption, corruption, corruption everywhere. Be it Pattiseema, Polavaram, Galeru-Nagari (all irrigation projects) ...there is corruption everywhere. There is a scam in everything, be it the Genco (power) projects, Capital and even the temporary Secretariat. The same money is being used to purchase MLAs(sic)," Jagan alleged.
"This is nothing new to Chandrababu. He did the same with MLAs of NTR (in 1995) and became CM through the backdoor. Chandrababu has no guts to face the people. He's thus trying to stifle the opposition voice," he added.
"When we quit the Congress (in 2011), we were just two. Me (then MP) and my mother (then MLA). We quit our posts and went for by-elections. Later when 18 MLAs joined us, we made them resign and sought fresh mandate. Now we are 67.
"It's because of the God's blessing and the place we earned in people's hearts," Jagan remarked.
Governments were not formed or returned (to power) by purchasing MLAs, he pointed out.
Noting that it was "just the second year" (of Chandrababu's rule), the opposition leader said MLAs (from TDP) would start queueing up to the YSRC in the third year.
"I will not become Chief Minister using those MLAs...I will go to polls and seek a fresh mandate and become Chief Minister with people's support and God's blessings."
Jagan returned to his native Pulivendula in Kadapa district late last night.
Jagan held talks with his party MLAs Amzath Pasha (Kadapa) and Raghurami Reddy (Mydukuru) amidst talk that they were also about to cross over to the TDP.
Two out of nine YSRC MLAs from Kadapa district had already joined the ruling party in the last four days.
Jagan was said to have prevailed over Amzath and Reddy against switching sides following which the two legislators brushed aside speculation about their possible defection.