Whatever made Jagan say that?
He may not have been assured by the BJP leadership, as of now, of amnesty. But, he would like to send a message to the powers-that-be investigating...
He may not have been assured by the BJP leadership, as of now, of amnesty. But, he would like to send a message to the powers-that-be investigating his cases that he is an ally of the BJP and that would make some difference as we all know.
That is a deliberate political calculus of Jagan and he is good at this art. He knows the value of right friends at right places because he has suffered in the hands of 'enemies at powerful places' in the past
The decision of the YSRCP President, YS Jaganmohan Reddy, to extend support to the NDA candidate in the Presidential elections has stirred a political hornet's nest in AP. The Telugu Desam Party launched an attack on Jagan immediately with its leaders seeing a nefarious design in it.
The TD leaders contend that Jagan has prostrated at the feet of the Prime Minister to get relief from his CBI cases and the YSRCP promptly denied it.Was there really any need for the YSRCP to reiterate that it had been supporting the BJP in all its moves and the Centre's policies, except for its stand on Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh, in the Parliament? What was the message Jagan wanted to convey and to whom becomes more pertinent here.
Jagan has every right to meet the Prime Minister of the nation just as any other leader in the country. Moreover, he planned to submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister on the plight of the chilli farmers whose stocks have been rotting in the market yards with prices plummeting to an unheard of low this year.
He also planned to explain to him in person the plight of the Agri Gold depositors in the State who have been cheated by the firm initially and by the apathy of the State government later.
This he did at length, going by the contents of the memorandum. Jagan also brought to the notice of the Prime Minister the defections engineered by the ruling TDP in his own party against the canons of democracy.
If Jagan were to confine himself to these issues at the media interaction, it would have been understandable. However, he chose to speak about the “inside story" in highlighting his support to the NDA's Presidential candidate. This has led to speculation over the intent of Jagan.
It should be noted that the AIADMK, TRS, YSRCP, AAP, BJD and INLD hold a cumulative vote share of 13,06 per cent in the upcoming Presidential elections. All these parties are neither allies of the BJP nor those of the Congress.
If the Congress could secure the support of these parties, things could get dicey for the BJP as the total vote share of those opposing the NDA candidate would go up to 48.53 per cent (35.47 per cent + 13.06 per cent). The NDA share would be 48.64 per cent. If the BJP could rein in Shiv Sena, then the support of a couple of these parties would do for it for smooth sailing of its candidate.
The TRS which is in power in Telangana could always support the BJP “in the interests of the State" and no one would question the decision. Similarly, if the AIADMK or the BJD offer support, it won't lead to much discussion.
However, Jagan is facing serious charges of fraud and money laundering in his quid pro cases. All these cases could come to their logical end by the next two years. Going by the outcome of such cases – particularly in the recent times – it is anybody's guess as to what would be the fate of Jagan. Some quarters are already likening the YSRCP to the AIADMK due to the "similarities" and predicting similar outcomes.
Jagan needs BJP's "handholding" in overcoming this eventuality. He may not have been assured by the BJP leadership, as of now, of amnesty. But, he would like to send a message to the powers-that-be investigating his cases that he is an ally of the BJP and that would make some difference as we all know.
That is a deliberate political calculus of Jagan and he is good at this art. Jagan or his colleagues might dismiss this suggestion as silly and stupid, yet, Jagan, of all those in the YSRCP, knows the value of right friends at right places because he has suffered in the hands of 'enemies at powerful places' in the past.
Let us look at one of Jagan's arguments, first of all. He keeps repeating that it was the Congress leadership that sent him to the jail and filed so many cases of quid pro quo just because he was out of favour of the Congress having not heeded Sonia Gandhi's warnings.
Of course, there was the connivance of the TDP leadership too, he adds. He knows that someone in power could decide his fate. Perhaps, he aimed at getting into the good books of the ruling party now.
As for the BJP, it is in no hurry to embrace him immediately as it continues to repose its confidence in its present ally, the TDP. The BJP national leadership which had laid out its plans for South has not spelt out any change in its AP status. It has only been asking is cadres and leaders to strengthen the party further in the State.
Its leaders have often emphasised here that "there is no hurry in changing tack as of now. Elections are far away. There are no permanent friends or foes in politics as we all know. Jagan's fate hangs by the cases he is facing.”
If Jagan likes to support the BJP until then, why would the BJP object or sneer at the proposal? He is most welcome to offer friendship. But, if he expects any 'benefit' out of it, he will be proven wrong. Jagan is not that important to the BJP or its calculus now.
Also, if he expects to drive a wedge between the BJP and the TDP, he is again wrong. His campaign of corruption against TDP too would not influence the BJP unless the latter decides to break away from the alliance and turn vengeful as the Congress did in case of Jagan.
A lot of ground has to change for the BJP-TDP alliance to break. We should also keep in mind that in the recent Punjab elections the BJP did not dump the Akali Dal leadership despite knowing that its popularity was at its lowest ebb.
There is no way that the TDP would slip to the level of the Akalis anyway. Hence, to presume that the BJP would join hands with the YSRCP is an imponderable.
This brings us back to the question: Why did Jagan display such a lively interest in announcing his support to the BJP and its Presidential candidate? He is not a novice to miscalculate or misread the BJP's political moves. He is aware of the fact that BJP would await the outcome in his cases before even considering friendship with him.
That leaves us with no other option but to speculate that Jagan had an ulterior motive in meeting the Prime Minister. Recently, Jagan's channel aired an interview with a former Chief Secretary on the quid pro cases which trashed the CBI and ED investigations.
When the investigating agencies sought cancellation of his bail, Jagan successfully pleaded before the court that he had nothing to do with the channel and the interview and he never tried to influence any witnesses. Those questions were posed by a journalist in the interview and the answers given by the guest ii the show, he argued.
The argument may be legally tenable but viewers would definitely be influenced to some extent by the show. Similarly, in a country where investigating agencies could be manipulated by the ruling party, there is always a possibility of such agencies thinking twice before making their next moves when people like Jagan meet people in high places. Period.