Asaduddin Owaisi has never hid his admiration for late chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy. That translated to a friendship with Jaganmohan Reddy as well, helped also by the fact that both are alumni of the Hyderabad Public School in Begumpet in Hyderabad though the Hyderabad MP is a few years senior to Jagan.
But now Owaisi and Jagan find themselves on opposite sides of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) divide. While Jagan’s YSRCP voted for the government in Parliament, Owaisi has been at the forefront of the criticism against the Act. Owaisi has now appealed to Jagan to withdraw his support.
“I know you need to run a government but this is about India,” said Owaisi, referring to the pressures the Andhra Pradesh chief minister is under vis-a-vis the BJP at the Centre.
But will Jagan play ball?
Senior BJP leaders say the YSRCP chief has conveyed to the BJP leadership to consider his 22 Lok Sabha MPs as its and that Vijai Sai Reddy is in constant touch with the people who matter in the saffron party. In the past six months, the YSRCP and even the Telugu Desam sailed with the BJP on the momentous decision on Kashmir and Jagan has kept mum on any national issue that could embarrass the Centre – be it onion prices or the problems in the economy or now CAA. For more reasons than one, Jagan cannot afford to cross swords with the Centre.
Jagan has chosen the way out by saying he won’t implement the NRC in Andhra Pradesh. Which suits him fine because even the PM has said there is no immediate plan to have NRC through out India. Besides, Andhra Pradesh won’t have the financial bandwidth to spend on conducting NRC given its precarious funds position.