|Jaganmohan Reddy greets Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Monday. (PTI)
Hyderabad, May 19: Telugu Desam Party leaders and their boss Chandrababu Naidu don’t appear too happy at the turn of events that have left them without the hoped-for “kingmaker” status.
Their rival, Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, who met Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi in Delhi today, hit the nail on the head when he said the 282-MP BJP, which won a majority on its own, “does not need us” — that is, neither Naidu nor the YSR Congress.
“It is rather that Andhra Pradesh needs Modi more now,” Jagan said, adding that the nine-MP YSRC would extend issue-based support to the NDA.
Sources said Jagan’s agenda was to ensure that Naidu, Andhra’s chief minister-designate whose Desam has 16 MPs in Parliament, wouldn’t resort to political vendetta and push for the YSRC leader’s prosecution under “false charges of corruption”.
Jagan, now out on bail, spent 16 months in jail after the CBI slapped 10 cases against him for alleged misuse of his father’s office when the late Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy was Andhra chief minister.
Desam sources said Naidu was toying with the idea of his party joining the NDA government at the Centre and was set to demand two cabinet and two minister of state berths. “We regretted not accepting when eight berths were offered by Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1999 but will not make such a mistake this time,” party spokesperson Y.S. Chowdhary said.
In 1999, the 33-MP Desam did not join the Vajpayee-led NDA government but had offered outside support.
Naidu, the sources said, will be in Delhi tomorrow to participate in the NDA’s first meeting before the new government takes office.
The Desam chief visited Tirumala for a “darshan” of Lord Venkateswara this morning. Naidu, who also visited his native village of Naravaripalli in Chittoor district, is set to take over as chief minister of a trimmed Andhra Pradesh, scheduled to be formally divided into Telangana — the country’s 29th state — and the residual Andhra on June 2.
Andhra had voted for the last time as an undivided state in the just-concluded simultaneous elections to the Assembly and Parliament.
The Desam-BJP combine won 117 of the 175 seats in the Assembly elections in Seemandhra, the region that will form the residual Andhra after Telangana is carved out next month.
Naidu today called on Andhra governor E.S.L. Narasimhan. So did Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) leader K. Chandraskehar Rao, who is set to take over as chief minister of Telangana.
The TRS chief introduced Coal India chairman S. Narsing Rao as the chief secretary-designate of the new state.