BJP denies offer to Jaganmohan Reddy
The BJP on Wednesday publicly denied that it had offered the post of Lok Sabha deputy Speaker to the YSR Congress of Andhra Pradesh leader Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, amid reports that the southern party feared a dent in its minority support base if it accepted such an offer.
“It was a courtesy meeting with the chief minister and politics was not on the agenda. I don’t know the basis of the speculation over the deputy Speaker’s post,” BJP parliamentarian G.V.L. Narasimha Rao said of his meeting with Reddy on Tuesday.
Rao, who hails from Andhra Pradesh, had called on newly elected chief minister Reddy in Vijayawada, fuelling speculations that the deputy Speaker’s post had been offered to the YSR Congress during the interaction.
The YSR Congress termed the reports as “rumour”.
“This news (of the BJP making the offer) is a rumour. There is no truth in it,” a YSR Congress MP said.
Sources, however, indicated that such a suggestion had indeed been made by the BJP, but the YSR Congress was in two minds about taking up the assignment, fearing that it might not go down well with its minority support base. The YSR Congress is believed to have swept the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh largely because of the backing of the minority Muslim and Christian voters.
The BJP, insiders said, is looking for an “acceptable” Opposition party to hand over the deputy Speaker’s post to. The sources said two parties, the YSR Congress and the Biju Janata Dal, meet the BJP’s requirements.
So far the top leadership of the BJP has kept the negotiations under wraps. According to convention, the deputy Speaker’s post has gone to someone from the Opposition. In 2014, the BJP had given the post to the AIADMK.