YSRCP ‘rebel’ Lok Sabha member on Wednesday met Union defence minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi fuelling speculation that he might join the BJP.
This is the second time in less than a month that Raju has met Rajnath Singh. His meeting comes in the wake of show cause notice issued by Rajya Sabha MP Vijaysai Reddy to Raju accusing them of “anti-party activities” and later moved disqualification proceedings against him. Both the warring sides have met Om Birla putting forth their respective views before the Lok Sabha Speaker.
Talking to mediapersons after meeting Rajnath Singh, Raju however ruled out joining the BJP. Further, he clarified that his meetings with the BJP leaders are purely professional. He said he was meeting the BJP leaders only as a MP representing the YSRCP. “I will remain a loyal soldier of the YSRCP party. I want the YSRCP government to be in power for the next 25 years. There is a big difference between government and party. I am consulting and meeting the central BJP leaders as an MP. Since I am the chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee, I keep meeting the central BJP leaders to exchange views and suggestions. One should not read beyond this. Some party leaders are conspiring to remove me as the chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee,” he said.
There has been a gnawing gap between Raju and some YSRCP leaders ever since he had raised certain issues opposing the party stand on English medium education, artificial scarcity of sand due to rampant illegal mining, TTD’s proposed move to sell Sri Vari assets and wide-spread Christian conversions in the state. However, Raju ruled out any gaps between him and party leadership. “I always made suggestions to the party leadership to protect its public image. My suggestions are not anti-party, rather the opposite,” he said.
On June 26, Raju dashed off his response to the show-cause notice issued by Vijaysai Reddy. In his reply, Raju stated that show-cause notice lacked legal sanctity as it was served under the letterhead of the YSR Congress Party instead of the party name ‘Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party’ which is the registered name in the Election Commission of India. Further, he sought to know in what capacity Vijayasai Reddy had sent the show cause notice to him.
“I am surprised to see you designating yourself as national general secretary of our party which is Registered as State recognised party as per Para 6A of the Election Symbols Reservation and Allotment Order 1968. Have you served this show-cause notice in the capacity of National General Secretary? If so, I doubt the authority vested to this chair with all regards as per the party constitution that was submitted by our party to the Election Commission of India. It is the byelaw of our party that we ought to be constituting a disciplinary committee ever since we intend to call ourselves a political party,” Raju had pointed out.