Hyderabad: The BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is playing it safe in the Seemandhra region, leaving the door ajar for all possible options in the future.
Modi conducted a whirlwind tour of the region, heli-hopping from one place to the other on Wednesday and Thursday in a series of six meetings that started at Tirupati on Wednesday and ended at Visakhapatnam on Thursday. Though in all the meetings he was categorical and forthcoming in his praise of TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu, his reluctance to launch a attack on YS Jaganmohan Reddy of the YSR Congress was too conspicuous to miss. Modi cleverly satisfied the TDP flock without rubbing the YSR Congress the wrong way.
Modi made several generic statements which can be seen as targeting Jagan. He sought to know from the people if they wanted a ‘Swarnaandhra’ or a ‘Scam-Andhra’, obliquely ascribing the latter description to Jagan without taking his name. In some public meetings, he reiterated his avowed policy of urging the Supreme Court to expedite the trial of criminal cases against MPs and they would be sent to jail, if proved guilty. This naturally is seen as hitting out at Jagan by the his detractors.
Without taking the late YS Rajasekhara Reddy’s name, Modi spoke about the 10-year rule of Congress in the state and lambasted it. He launched a scathing attack on the ‘maa-beta misrule’ (the maladministration of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi) at every given opportunity.
He repeatedly said that it was an epoch-making opportunity for the electors and they could decide the future of Seemandhra as a new state.
Modi tacitly approved of the shredding of Jagan’s party and policies by actor Pawan Kalyan and TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu. The two missed no opportunity to tear into the YSR Congress chief. Occasionally, senior BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu did not hesitate to put in his own comments into his translation of Modi’s speech to take on the YSR Congress.
The TDP cadre are happy that Modi repeatedly attacked the YSR Congress and asked whether people wanted to choose a party ridden with corruption charges, and whose leaders remained in the confines of prisons. But the YSR Congress leadership is taking it as token criticism and hence finds it excusable.
At the Visakhapatnam public meeting, Modi took the name of the YSR Congress and Jagan for the first time, that too just once. He said YSR Congress was not born out of any principle, but took birth to satiate the greed of Jagan to become the chief minister. Modi sought to know if a leader, who backstabbed his party and came out of it, could do any justice to people.
The scale of criticism of Jagan by Modi is nothing compared to the encomiums heaped by Chandrababu Naidu on Modi and the BJP. Naidu perhaps expected the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate to haul Jagan over the coals only to provide a booster dose to the TDP, which is out of power for the last decade and is fighting a do-or-die poll battle.
Modi has obvious reasons for making tongue-in-cheek reference to the YSR Congress, instead of spewing venom. Just in case he needs Jagan's numbers for the formation of the NDA government, he should not appear to be burning bridges.
Elsewhere at a public meeting in Kaikalur in Krishna district, Jagan too took pot-shots at the BJP-led NDA Government for not thinking of the promises they are now making when it was in power between 1999 and 2004. His inveterate hostility to Chandrababu Naidu, however, continued unabated.
He assigned the task of tearing Pawan Kalyan’s vituperative comments apart to his sister Sharmila, just to prove the point that his family stood by him like a rock, and also to highlight the chasm between Chiranjeevi and his younger brother Kalyan.
Jagan’s in several interviews to national media has said that he was "not averse to extending support to Modi and the BJP, in the larger interests of Seemandhra”. It seems to have worked as a pre-emptive move by the youngest aspirant for the coveted job of the chief minister of the new state.
Updated Date: May 02, 2014 12:49 PM