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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Jagan’s YSR Cong says it’s open to working with Modi

Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times  Hyderabad, April 19, 2014
First Published: 02:07 IST(19/4/2014) | Last Updated: 02:10 IST(19/4/2014)

YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy is not averse to doing business with BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi if the BJP forms the next government at the Centre.

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“Except the Congress, we are ready to do business with any party. If there is a choice between Modi and Rahul Gandhi, we will obviously prefer the BJP leader,” a senior YSR Congress functionary said.

Party sources told HT that the interests of Seemandhra — an YSR Congress’ bastion —are “paramount” for Jagan and he “cannot afford to antagonise” any party that is in power at the Centre.

The remarks could come as music to the ears of BJP leaders.

The saffron party is looking to stitch together a broad-based alliance to form the next government with a comfortable majority. The BJP has tied up with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in the region but the two parties have had differences over seat-sharing and candidate selection.

Opinion polls have predicted the YSR Congress will perform impressively in Seemandhra which has 25 Lok Sabha and 175 assembly seats. Jagan had taken a public stand against the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh (AP) into Seemandhra and Telangana.

This is not the first time that the YSR Congress has hinted at the possibility of a post-poll alliance with the BJP. Jagan himself had earlier said Modi wasn’t “untouchable” for him.

Dismissing the charge that Jagan – facing a slew of corruption cases -- wanted to buy peace with the next regime and hence had turned his back on secularism, the party functionary pointed out that Seemandhra would be at the “mercy” of the Centre for its development.

“We need to build a new capital. We need big-ticket projects and generate enough revenue to sustain. In comparison to Telangana, we have to start from scratch,” he said. “This will only happen if we have a friendly government at the Centre,” he added.

In Seemandhra, the YSR Congress is locked in a close fight with the TDP that is hoping to ride the Modi wave back to power in the new state after being out of power in AP for 10 years. The party has shown signs of recovery after the AP bifurcation, despite the ambivalent stand of party chief N Chandrababu Naidu over Telangana’s creation.

The Congress is heading for its worst-ever performance in Seemandhra and will suffer due to its decision to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh, political observers say.


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