Jagan rejects invite he is yet to get, manages to steal a march over Chandrababu Naidu

Has YS Jaganmohan Reddy delivered a political masterstroke or has he scored a self-goal by declining to attend the foundation laying ceremony of Amaravathi, the new capital city of Andhra Pradesh, even before an invite is extended to him?

A Saye Sekhar October 18, 2015 12:17:04 IST
Jagan rejects invite he is yet to get, manages to steal a march over Chandrababu Naidu

Hyderabad: Has YS Jaganmohan Reddy delivered a political masterstroke or has he scored a self-goal by declining to attend the foundation laying ceremony of Amaravathi, the new capital city of Andhra Pradesh, even before an invite is extended to him?

The answer is both yes and no. Yes, because he has managed to hog the limelight when the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) appeared to be running away with all the propaganda points in the run-up to the mega event. No, because he has drawn flak for “dishonouring” the invite that was yet to be extended and “disrespecting” the popular sentiment over the construction of a new capital city for a state that’s struggling hard on many counts.

Jagan rejects invite he is yet to get manages to steal a march over Chandrababu Naidu

Y S Jaganmohan Reddy: Reuters

But Jagan, as it appears, is ensuring that he is steadily in the news, either for the right or the wrong reasons. He sat on an indefinite fast on 7 October demanding special status for Andhra Pradesh as promised in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014.

A week later, his strike was medically foiled when he was administered fluids by force and admitted to Government General Hospital in Guntur for a day. The forcible removal of the Leader of the Opposition from the hunger strike camp and the subsequent smear campaign by the pro-Telugu Desam media and opinion leaders only helped him get publicity.

He has stated eight reasons for declining the expected invite. He has gone hammer and tongs against the “coercive methods” used by the state government in the land pooling for the new capital. He says the state had undertaken work by imposing ‘prohibitory orders’ under Section 30 and Section 144 of the CrPC. He has hauled the government over the coals for “ignoring the stay orders issued by the National Green Tribunal”.

He said: “The Centre is generously helping the state and has already given Rs. 1,850 crore for the construction of the capital. It has further promised to help build the capital and release funds upon claiming of bills. Why has the CM roped in private firms of Singapore to build the capital? Structures like assembly, secretariat, high court and other such government offices can be built in the available government land, leaving the private lands for the landlords to decide whether they want to take up real estate or agriculture.”

Jagan has made a serious allegation that the chief minister and his cronies and some family members bought huge tracts of land in the new capital region but none of that was pooled and the land belonging only to the poor is taken by force.

His charge that the government is being extravagant by spending Rs 400 crore for the foundation stone laying has not only embarrassed the government, but also yielded the desired result too. As a knee-jerk reaction to the charge of the YSR Congress and the subsequent “enquiries from the corridors of power in Delhi,” the AP government eased out event management company, Wizcraft, which it had contracted for Rs 9.5 crore from managing the capital event.

The chief minister himself had to hurriedly do the explaining that the government was moderating the expenditure and that it was not indulging in extravagance. However, this is contrary to the news from the government sources that the hospitality should be terrific and the function should remain etched in the minds of the people forever.

Jagan’s act of writing to the chief minister, asking him not to extend the invitation for the foundation stone laying may sound churlish. But it appears to be politically smart.

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