Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale on Sunday, October 17, invited the YSR Congress to join the National Democratic Alliance. "We want to expand the NDA. I appeal to Jagan Mohan Reddy, president of YSRC, to come and join the NDA. If he joins the NDA, he will be assured of more help to the State of Andhra Pradesh," Athawale said. "Think about it. I will talk to (BJP president) Nadda. If Jagan Mohan Reddy is ready, definitely then I will talk to the BJP high command. That will be something positive," Athawale told the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister.
The Union Minister was in Andhra Pradesh to review the implementation of various welfare schemes. Athawale's Republican Party of India (A) is a constituent of the BJP-led NDA. Addressing a press conference, he said the YSRCP always supported the (Union) government in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha. If he comes and joins the NDA, then he will be assured of more help to the State in regard to National Highways, irrigation projects, tourism and other development, Athawale said. He said the Union government was helping the state even now. But if he joins the NDA, there could be more help, he added. Responding to a question on the issue related to the three capitals of Andhra Pradesh, the Union Minister said it was an issue in the state's purview.
The Union Minister also said there was no scope for Congress's revival in the near future. "These are Modi's (Prime Minister) days. He is doing well and going strong. The Congress will have to wait for at least 15-20 years to come to power, he said. Earlier, at the review meeting with Social Welfare Department officials, Athawale listed out the various schemes being implemented by the Union government for the welfare of SCs, STs and BCs. He asked the officials to ensure effective use of the schemes by the communities and got details on the beneficiaries of the schemes, the functioning of social welfare schools and hostels and the distribution of scholarships.