The news from Andhra Pradesh has been about Jagan Mohan Reddy and his arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation. Many in the state saw it as a move to scuttle the growth of Jagan Reddy of the YSR Congress party, but the opposition in Andhra Pradesh has always maintained that he cannot get away especially when there is ample proof of a financial crime against him.
His party the YSR Congress is however hopeful that this mess would clear out and Jagan would emerge victorious in the days to come. There has been a witch hunt against Jagan since day one and this is due to his popularity says Jagan Reddy’s closest aide and party spokesperson, Ambati Rambabu. We are hopeful of a good result in the by-election and expect more MLAs from both the Congress and the Telegu Desam Party to come into our fold after the elections, says Rambabu in this interview with rediff.com.
The by-elections are very important for your party. What are your chances?
The campaigning went on very well despite so many hurdles and set backs. The crowds which came in to support our leaders and our party was overwhelming and they expressed a lot of solidarity with the members of the YSR family. Going by the trends and the manner in which the people have come out to support us, I am confident that we will win all the seats in the by-election and that will be a turning point in Andhra Pradesh politics.
How big was the set back for your party after Jagan was arrested?
Without a doubt it was a major set back. However Vijayamma stepped in and took over the mantle of the party and we have managed this transition very well. The people have been very supportive of her and have expressed their solidarity. Moreover the people realise that she has lost a lot and they have supported her with all their heart.
With so many cases against Jagan it appears that he will not come out for a long time. Is the YSR Congress party planning on a permanent replacement?
As I said that Vijayamma has stepped in for her son. We had always expected a major witch hunt against Jagan. However there will be no replacement for Jagan in the party. We will all wait for him to return.
Jagan’s sister, Sharmila has been the popular face of the campaign. Is there any chance of she taking over from her mother?
Sharmila is there to support her brother and mother during the campaign. The people have respected her. But she too has made it clear that she will only help during the campaign and none shall replace her brother’s position in the party.
Does the Congress and the Telegu Desam Party continue to work together as has always been alleged by your party?
Yes of course they are working hand in hand against Jagan Mohan Reddy. They have always done that and will continue to do so as they fear the popularity of our party and our leader. I have always maintained this and would like to add that there is match fixing in Andhra Pradesh against Jagan.
There appears to have been an issue over the security of Jagan which led him to threaten that he would go on fast.
Yes that issue has been resolved. They got him before the court in an ordinary vehicle despite him being a Member of Parliament. However now the court has ordered that he be brought before the court in a bullet proof vehicle.
Are you saying that there could be a threat to his life and is there any specific information regarding that?
There is a possibility that his life may be under threat. Chances cannot be taken. We do not have any specific information regarding this, but it is always a possibility and hence his security is of utmost importance.
In case the YSR Congress emerges victorious in the by-elections then what is the next course of action?
The next course of action will be decided after the elections. The party will continue to work for the people and there will be major preparation for the assembly elections. The battle ahead is hard, but we will continue to work hard.
Has the arrest of Jagan Mohan Reddy scared away the possible detractor from both the Congress and the TDP from coming into your fold?
I would not like to comment on this. Our party’s strength and position has not changed. We do expect more MLAs from both the Congress and the TDP coming into our party. However all that will be only after the elections.