All does not seem to be well between the YSRCP and the BJP in Andhra Pradesh. And two developments in the last few days are a clear pointer to how the BJP is taking its role as an opposition party in the state rather seriously. This despite not having a single MLA or MP from Andhra Pradesh and the perception that it is unpopular on the ground, having denied special category status to the state.
On Friday, a BJP delegation led by state chief Kanna Lakshminarayana travelled to the Polavaram irrigation project site. Visibly unhappy over the lack of progress in the last four months, the state unit will meet Union Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhwat on Sunday to directly execute the project. The BJP says the Jaganmohan Reddy government has wasted time by terminating the previous contract and going in for reverse tendering, citing corruption in the previous deal.
This comes on the back of the CBI filing a strong counter, objecting to Jagan seeking exemption from personal appearance in court in connection with his DA cases. In its counter affidavit to the CBI court in Hyderabad, the agency went to the extent of saying that Jagan could “influence the witnesses behind the iron wall of political, money and muscle powers”.
Punching holes in Jagan’s plea that travelling to Hyderabad and back would take two days ahead of his schedule, the CBI said “the claim of the necessity to spare two days in a week is an exaggeration and cannot be accepted at its face value”. It also accused Rajya Sabha MP and accused number 2 in the cases, Vijai Sai Reddy of influencing a witness, asking him not to “part with any document/information to the CBI”.
On his part, Jagan has maintained harmonious relations with the BJP leadership, taking care not to upset it in any manner. He knows he needs the Centre’s support on more issues than one, given Andhra Pradesh’s precarious financial condition and the fact that Chandrababu Naidu is waiting for an opportunity to make a comeback.
He met Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week to invite him to inaugurate the Rythu Bharosa scheme in Andhra Pradesh. During the last Parliament session, the YSRCP also supported the Centre’s position on abrogation of Article 370 which accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir.