AP chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy used to say that he would bargain with the Central government every time the ruling party in Delhi needed his support. He said on several occasions, even in the election campaign that he would bargain with Delhi and get whatever is required for the state. He did not mind whether the Congress-led UPA or the BJP-led NDA came to power.
But these words remain just words and Jagan seems to have become a man of words rather than deeds, if one goes by the sequence of events unfolded in Delhi since his massive victory in the 2019 elections. Every time he got an opportunity to help the ruling NDA, he looked compromised rather than bargained anything for the state.
The latest is the Presidential election, where the ruling NDA is running short of 2.33 per cent votes to the magic figure of 51 per cent. Jagan Mohan Reddy has 4.22 per cent votes to help the NDA heave a sigh of relief. Of course, the BJP can buy those 2.33 per cent votes for which it would have to do a lot of homework. The Odisha’s BJD with 2.94 per cent votes had extended its support only after the NDA announced its candidate, who belonged to Odisha.
But, even before BJD’s chief Naveen Patnaik announced his support, that too when the NDA was short of votes, Jagan Mohan Reddy offered his support unconditionally! One should say that Jagan’s support was unconditional because there was nothing that either Jagan or the NDA government made anything new for Andhra Pradesh after this announcement.
There are several issues concerning Andhra Pradesh after the ill-conceived bifurcation in 2014. The special category status, the Polavaram Project, funds for the seven backward districts, railway zone, steel plant, seaport to name a few.
Jagan Mohan Reddy could not get an assurance from the NDA government on any of these pending issues before extending his unconditional support. This would give arms to the opposition to fire at Jagan. This would also give an opportunity for the people to think on Jagan’s trustworthiness.