The Andhra Pradesh government had marked the rollout of the first car from the Kia Motors plant in Anantapur district as a major event on 8 August. Finance minister B Rajendranath had even claimed that Kia group stepped into Andhra Pradesh to honour a promise made to YS Rajasekhara Reddy in 2007 and not because of Chandrababu Naidu’s efforts.
Which is why it was surprising to see Jaganmohan Reddy skip the event and miss out on the optics. Officially this was because his trip in Delhi got extended by a day as the CM met Union Home minister Amit Shah for a second time on Thursday morning. But not everyone back home in Andhra Pradesh is convinced this is the only reason.
When Kia Motors plant was commissioned in Anantapur, Jagan had criticised it. On Thursday, the Telugu Desam social media cell was trending #ThankyouCBNforKIA in an effort to drive home its point. Old news clippings of the KIA management praising Naidu were doing the rounds and it would have been embarrassing for Jagan to be seen as appropriating credit.
Jagan was also scheduled to unveil a statue of his uncle YS Vivekananda Reddy whose body was found in suspicious circumstances at his home in March. In the run-up to the elections, the murder raised a storm with the YSR Congress alleging the TDP was trying to cover up the crime and demanded a CBI probe. But more than two months since he took over as CM, there has been no headway made in the investigation of the case. A Special Investigation Team was set up by the Naidu regime to probe the sensational case. Unveiling his uncle’s statue while not being able to find his killer would have shown Jagan in poor light.
Three, while Jagan was away first in Jerusalem and then in Delhi, the flood situation in the two Godavari districts got worse. Nara Lokesh toured the marooned areas and his team ensured his pictures of consoling and offering help to the affected people, were splashed all over the Telugu media. Jagan could not have been seen to be indifferent to the woes of the people which is why he rushed to do an aerial tour of the affected areas in the second half of Thursday soon after returning from Delhi.
The Jagan regime is hoping to make amends for missing the Kia event by making a splash with the meeting with ambassadors and diplomats from 35 countries in Amaravati on Friday. This MEA-backed outreach is to facilitate an investment pitch by Jagan personally for foreign investment into Andhra Pradesh.