Srikakulam: Leader of Opposition in Andhra Pradesh Assembly and YSR Congress Party Chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy who is on the last leg of his mass contact initiative, Praja Sankalpa Yatra took time of for a special interview with the Telugu Channel TV 9.
In a freewheeling interview he answered many pertinent questions about the current political state in Andhra Pradesh, his ties with Pawan Kalyan and K Chandrasekhar Rao and also shared his views about the upcoming Andhra Pradesh elections, his support to any party which will commit itself to granting Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh in writing, Chandrababu Naidu, and the murder attempt on him on October 25 in Visakhapatnam airport, among other things.
Check out the complete translation of the interview which was held on January 6 , 2019.
TV9: Its been more than 14 months since you embarked on the Padayatra , what are the new things you have learnt in this period?
YS Jagan:Padayatra is one of the most powerful methods of getting close to the people. As part of this walkathon, we have come across people from various segments of society and learnt about their problems which are intrinsic to their lives. We also conducted public meetings as part of this Padayatra and are explaining many things to the public through which we are spreading the message across the state.
TV9: You are a public figure and not new to being amongst people, you have conducted protests, Odarpu Yatras and other meets, so what is the difference between those and this Padayatra in specific?
YS Jagan: This Padayatra has a specific agenda and a schedule. People know my route and people can come and meet me directly and share their problems. This has given them the confidence that there is someone they can come to and share their troubles with and they trust me.
TV9: In this 3,600 km Journey you have come across thousands of petitions and problems from people , do you have solutions for all these problems?
YS Jagan: Most of these problems have solutions. 99.99% of these problems are due to the mistakes made by the government. I can take many examples ... Pension scheme... asking bribes for Janma Bhoomi programs, even to build toilets. Model school teachers are not getting salaries since months...Unpaid bills for the Midday meal program for school children, not paying the workers their stipend...We will solve this through the Saturation Model which was earlier implemented by my father, Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy . We will also abolish the Janma Bhoomi Committees, appoint Village Secretariats as independent entities and ensure that educated youth from the same village work in it to resolve the problems. We can solve their problem in 72 hours without any bribes being paid.
TV9: Chandrababu Naidu said that same thing earlier and it was nice to hear that. But would you be able deliver what you are promising?
YS Jagan: Don’t compare Chandrababu with anyone. Ask any child, youth, aged person about him ... They have only one answer--We have never seen a cheat as big as Chandrababu! They want answers , he hasn't waived loan interest amounts as promised for farmers and they are only getting auction notices .The previous governments would give loans at zero interest but he has not given that either . Unemployed youth were promised jobs or unemployment benefits, but he has given neither of them. Engineering students have not been given fee reimbursements, he has not given the Backward Castes their dues. They all one the same thing to share, there is no other bigger cheat than Chandrababu Naidu! He was a CM for more than nine years and we thought he would do something for us. They also say that he was the one who backstabbed his own father-in-Law, late NT Rama Rao and came to power. After a gap of 9 years we forgot his wrong doings and believed him and voted for him again, only to be cheated again, is what they say.
TV9: 40 years in the industry is what Chandrababu says and you are a 46 year old young man, how do you expect the people to receive you?
YS Jagan: Elections are going to be held soon and you will see how people will receive whom and who they will vote for...
TV9: You are expressing confidence that you will come to power, but how can you tell that Chandrababu Naidu won't come to power?
YS Jagan: It is clear that he is enacting these dramas on a regular basis to stay in power. We normally see Telugu movies of different actors, but Chandrababu is showing us a new movie every week, with the elections round the corner. Suddenly promises are being showered on people out of the blue. He could not secure Special Status for Andhra Pradesh, he hasn't built the Capital, in the past five years. Baahubali movie version 1 and 2 has come out but there has been no development in the state nor has a brick been laid. The drama list is endless, Polavaram dam, he joins BJP and abuses Congress, now he joins hands with the Congress and abuses BJP. He said that if people vote for Congress it is like voting for Jagan and now he says if people vote for me it is like voting for BJP. He has sought alliances with both the parties, but if there is anyone who fights alone without colluding with any party that is YS Jagan and the YSRCP.
TV9: Chandrababu Naidu has repeatedly accused your party of an alliance with BJP and how Vijayasai Reddy gets easy access to PM Modi on a regular basis, so do you have any evidence to deny that news?
YS Jagan: Ask him to prove how many time Vijayasai Reddy has met the Prime Minister, even I am curious to know. I didn’t know that the PM had so much leisure to meet people and through your channel and this interview even people will know the truth. As far as I recollect he has met Modi thrice in a span of 4 years, twice with me. Every MP is given that opportunity to meet the PM and they will misinterpret those visits if they choose to.
TV9: You have never criticised Narendra Modi nor have you spoken about GST or any other issue at the Centre. Based on this they say that you and BJP have an understanding. What do you have to say to this?
YS Jagan: Who said I have not responded about demonetisation? Please check your facts. It was Chandrababu who said that because of me, Modi had banned notes. Do you know who was the head of the committee which was constituted for cashless economy is ? Chandrababu Naidu...I was the first person to criticise the move and say that it was hasty to implement demonetisation without an implementation mechanism. No media house or state Chief Minister objected to GST, in fact it was our party MPs who gave a letter to the PM explaining the negative impact it had on the Weavers , we also spoke to Arun Jaitley about this.
TV9: They say you are not strong in your mention of the Special Category Status Issue at the Centre?
YS Jagan: I was the first one to make the people of Andhra Pradesh aware about what the 14th Finance Commission said, what Abhijith Sen said and how we have fought at the Centre for SCS , and even our MPs resigned to make them aware of what is happening at the centre. Chandrababu has failed at levels, he asked for special status and later he said what is the need for SCS; he even threatened us for speaking about it. Now he talks about Dharma Poratam and Deekshas for special status. There were two Central Ministers from TDP at the Centre then, what were they doing? I have spoken at length about the issue in the Assembly but to no avail.
TV9: How will you bring Special Status? Chandrababu says Rahul Gandhi will bring it, you say you have brought in the awareness and will bring it, but you have no support of any national party, so whose side are you on?
YS Jagan: Chandrababu Naidu, BJP and Congress have all cheated us. We will support the party which signs on the dotted line of the Special Category Status. I am not bothered about who is in power or who the PM is. My 25 MPs will support the party which will get AP the Special Status Recognition.
TV9: There is news that you and KCR are very close , how far is that true?
YS Jagan: The only truth is that I have never met KCR and I only spoke to him on phone to congratulate him over the Telangana elections victory. What is wrong in that?
TV9: But have you observed that KCR has a special liking towards you and he also predicted that you will win in the coming elections.
YS Jagan: A person ends up liking the hero more than the villain when they watch a movie and it is the same case here. KCR and the Telugu people have seen Chandrababu from close quarters when it comes to his character. KCR also has analysed his moral fibre and hence this feeling.
TV9: So will you welcome KCR into Andhra Politics?
YS Jagan: See, what AP needs is Special Status for its problems to be solved. BJP, Congress TDP and even Pawan Kalyan all have cheated the people of AP. KCR had come forward in support of Andhra Pradesh Special Status and so did his daughter MP K Kavitha, who said that Andhra is in need for SCS in the Parliament. If the 17 MPs from Telangana join hands with the 25 MPs from Andhra and protest against the Centre unitedly, that would be a different thing altogether and he had also given an assurance to that effect in the media.
TV9: There is a rumour that your cadre had supported KCR in the elections. So will KCR support you in the coming elections.
YS Jagan: KCR needs no support and we never said or told anyone to support KCR , because people consciously knew whom to vote for. But naturally people who loved my father wouldn't have cast their vote for a TDP /Congress based party and were inclined to vote for TRS. At this juncture I have to tell you something. In 2014 when BJP first approached us even before they asked Chandrababu, I called 25 of my senior party members for their opinion and 23 of them said no to this alliance. This gives enough indication about how my party works and our faith in democracy.
TV9: Do you have any personal enmity with Chandrababu, both of you launch personal attacks?
YS Jagan: I have never said anything at personal level against Chandrababu, but he has been constantly criticising me and in fact, his ministers are using derogatory language against me and he makes no attempt to stop them either. He derives some kind of sadistic, vicarious pleasure when they use abusive words against me and my party members. Either way it is only to our benefit, as we maintain a certain dignity in our way of speaking.
TV9: What is your observation about Pawan Kalyan's role in AP politics? They say if he joins you it will be a big factor and in the same manner, it would be a major factor if he goes along with the TDP. Political analysts say that this kind of triangular system will continue in AP politics.
YS Jagan: I will give you a theory about this. What will happen if a person like Pawan Kalyan contests independently? Last time he campaigned for Chandrababu, and he got many votes because people respected Pawan Kalyan and voted in his favour and I was a witness to that. Now if Pawan Kalyan contests independently what will happen ? The same people who voted out of love for Pawan Kalyan may vote for him, that again is another probability and majority of them vote, but again whose vote bank will diminish , it will be Chandrababu’s but not our vote bank. Now coming to the second scenario what will happen when Chandrababu and Pawan Kalyan contest together? The votes against the government will be in favour of YSRCP. The voters have only two choices. There is so much dissent in the public against Chandrababu Naidu that he will lose all deposits, that’s the way people are. In 1994 when the Congress party lost they got only 26 seats from the 294 constituencies ( which is 10 %) and in the same way in 2004 when TDP lost, they got only 47 seats which is again less than 15 % . That is the difference between a vote for the government and against the government. Chandrababu and his alliance are surely going to lose deposits in this manner.
TV9: There is another rumour that politics surround Jagan and whatever Jagan says is final, Is this impression true?
YS Jagan: When it comes to votes, it all depends on the leader of the regional party. People vote based on the leadership capabilities and the character of the leader and this is a fact. I can’t say anything else as it will be misconstrued to be wrong and whatever I say, I will be the first one to get affected. So I believe in taking the right decision and for this I consult all the senior members of my party and based on their collective response, in the end it is I who takes that informed decision .
TV9: In 2019 should the people vote seeing you or the candidate?
YS Jagan: You can debate that based on the truth and it can be favourable or against it us. I am talking in the context of regional parties. The role of an MLA and his capabilities is limited. He can’t grant pension or fee reimbursement or even get you a house. But if the Chief Minister is a good person, the same MLA can do many things. During my father’s regime he believed in the Saturation method and was able to grant pensions, houses , loans, ration cards, fees reimbursements, Arogyasri. He was able to help those in need irrespective of which party they belonged, where eligibility was the only criteria.
TV9: Jagan is a very stubborn person and doesn’t listen to anybody. Why did this impression come about?
YS Jagan: People from my party don’t say that I am stubborn, it is only the opposition which propagates this. As a matter of fact my party men say that when Jagan takes a decision, he stands by it and they don’t say that I don’t meet anyone or listen to anyone. They know pretty well that I am the only one who takes everyone’s opinion to a major extent.
TV9: In the upcoming elections, is it only a contest between Chandrababu and Jagan ? Or will Pawan Kalyan figure in it?
YS Jagan: It was Chandrababu who recently gave a statement about Pawan Kalyan. When contesting in Telangana he said that Jana Sena had supported him and he said this on an open dais. Now he states that why is Jagan bothered if Pawan Kalyan supports Chandrababu. So when you see all this, they both had cheated the public when they contested together and now pretending to be separated they are again trying to hoodwink the public. He is again trying to cosy up to Pawan and it is clear from his words that there is an attempt to stop this drama and get around to him. No matter what happens I am not scared or worried, if they both contest together I have nothing to lose and in fact I will be the happiest.
TV9: There are rumours about Pawan joining forces with you and there is an understanding to that effect. But there was a breakdown of sorts ... so what happened?
YS Jagan: It is not right to say anything, I have never spoken to Pawan nor has he spoken to me, I have not met him either and neither has he met me. So it’s not right to make such statements.
TV9 : Are you against any kind of political alliances or is nobody coming forward to join you?
YS Jagan: I never clamoured for alliances and I truly believe in hard work and not depend on anyone else. As a human being I believe in that as a policy and I believe in my strengths and that the people are the ones who will vote and God is the one who will bless us. I should only believe in these two. I don’t believe in forging alliances and use them from benefits; I think it’s morally wrong. I have my party candidates for all the 175 constituencies and I can’t forge alliances with another party and promise those tickets to them and cheat my own faithful party members. I believe in God and my people and will never do that. I don’t need to do that; in fact never will I ever have to do that.
TV9: If you come into power how you will keep the promises made?
YS Jagan: Chandrababu has promised many things in his manifesto. He promised to include the SC, STs into the BC category. Apart from that he promised to waive loans, provide jobs for everyone, Rs 2000 for the unemployed and many more things and finally cheated the public. He has looted the state and if anyone or party supports this person, the people of the state will teach him and his so called alliance a lesson.
TV9: Since you believe the facts published in the book about Chandrababu’s corruption, what action will you take if you come to power?
YS Jagan: I will have an inquiry done in every aspect of corruption mentioned in the book. First a cabinet sub-committee will be formed and we will gather proofs to be submitted to the court. There are many state agencies and Chandrababu says that he has the CID with him. I will activate all these agencies, conduct proper investigation and collect evidences. After I gather all these documents we will ensure that he stands for trial in the court.
TV9: When you were attacked ... you were the aggrieved and the witness in your own case, but why are you not cooperating in the investigation?
YS Jagan: If someone asks you cite the safest places, you can give many answers to that, and in those names an Airport VIP lounge will be one. It is one of the safest areas, but how did a knife come into the VIP lounge? This is my basic question . The restaurant owner Harshavardhan Choudary is a TDP supporter who tried contesting in the 2014 elections and a very close aide of the Visakhapatnam(East) MLA . Now coming to the antecedents of that MLA, he was one of the main accused in the murder case of Vangaveeti Ranga.Later, he left Vijayawada and came to Vizag and became an MLA. It is a known fact that Harshavardhan Choudary is close to Chandrababu and Lokesh Babu. Since the restaurant is his, they were able to bring the knife into the VIP lounge and coming to the main accused who was working there, he was already involved in another murder attempt case. How did the police issue a No Objection Certificate to such a person. I have been travelling in and out of Vizag since August 14 and the attack happened after a three months. Surprisingly the CC Cameras have stopped working in the airport since I came into the airport and were not working till the attack and this was also mentioned by the High Court Judge. In a span of one hour after the attack the DGP , Ministers and Chandrababu Naidu have come forward with statements which were completely baseless and misleading the case investigation. A flexi banner was conjured from nowhere showing the accused as my supporter and that too in colours which were not used by our party. Will any one keep an eagle’s picture in the banner, our fans would keep my mother ,my father or my sister’s picture . They morphed the flexi in yellow colour whereas our party official colour is blue. They are also claiming that he was my fan and would a fan try to kill me?
TV9: Is that why you didn’t speak?
YS Jagan: No, After the incident I behaved like a gentleman. It was situation where it was difficult to say anything ,we needed to know how this happened and if I made any wild statements in haste, there would chaos in the state. I was not the only one there when the attack happened, there were close to 30 people around me including the CISF staff, Indigo staff and other VIPs sitting there. I changed my blood soaked shirt and received first aid in the airport itself. Later, I changed my shirt and flew to Hyderabad for further treatment. I came home and rested for two weeks and resumed my Padayatra. I asked all these questions in the first meeting only and I haven’t spoken anywhere else about this.
TV9: Then what about the investigation?
YSJagan:You tell me , when the state and the state machinery is facing the allegations, how can the police working under the same government investigate my case in a fair and just manner. We feel it’s the state government that is involved in this attack and with police under the state government, I don’t think we will get justice which is why we wanted a third party probe. We are not asking as to who the third party should be, but it should not be connected to the state. Thats all we asked.
TV9: People are doubting that you will change the state capital or do something else.
YS Jagan: Why are you not asking Chandrababu the same question? There is not a single permanent structure in the capital, all the buildings including secretariat, high court and assembly are temporary structures. Not a single brick has been laid for the permanent structure. Why are you not asking him any questions? Has he built a home here? But he has spent crores building his house in Hyderabad. He has spent crores on fancy marble, if he wants to live here he has to build his home here. I am building a new home here in the capital and will be moving there in February. I am also building my party office there. He is trying to pull all tricks up his sleeve and level baseless allegations against me. That is the stage of corruption that the capital is in right now. I can’t say as to what extent the investigation can go up to , land dealings in the capital are not normal, they are selling the land at their own rates to their own people and paying bribes. They are talking about a Singapore Company for building it and granting 16 to 17 hundred acres of land ... What will they do with so much land ? They will only do real estate and the state won’t benefit a pie from all this. With these kinds of scams investigations are bound to happen and who will be responsible for these Consequences? Is it not Chandrababu?
TV9: So will there be a scope for him to go to jail?
YS Jagan: Going or not going to jail would depend on the evidence and witnesses. I will give you an example, he says he will build the capital at a particular place and misleads the public, till December he has not revealed as to where he will build the capital even after coming to power. In the past six months he and his benamis are buying lands from farmers in that place. Under his Heritage Company itself he has bought 14 acres of land and now he will build the capital there. In Stock market terms it’s called Insider Trading and for this act a jail term of three to four years is prescribed under law. He has used confidential information for himself and his benamis personal benefits and come to power. There is enough proof against him and there are many such instances and evidences. What is the punishment for this? The time has come for his corrupt deeds to be exposed and God will certainly punish him for this vile and corrupt deeds.
TV9: Now that the NIA has come will you cooperate?
YS Jagan:Of course I will , but why should I cooperate , they have to investigate and after that the culprits should be caught. I am the aggrieved one here, the NIA should tell me what has happened and also the people of the state.
TV9: All those who did Padayatras ( walkathons) have become Chief Ministers , will you also become one?
YS Jagan: By God's grace and the blessings of the people....