In the first rally after his release from jail, YSR Congress president Jaganmohan Reddy managed to draw a huge crowd despite the torrential rain for the past five days, but failed to pack in enough punch in his speech to enthuse his supporters.
He spoke for 45 minutes. But it was mostly a diatribe against the usual targets — Congress president Sonia Gandhi, chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and Telegu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu.
Braving the downpour, people began to gather at the Fateh Maidan stadium much before the meeting began at 2.00pm. Even some people were seen either waiting on the roads or climbing the stadium roofs to catch a glimpse of Jagan, who had been in jail for 16 months in a disproportionate assets case.
Warning the UPA government against its “divide-and-rule policy”, he said, “We will work towards winning 30 Lok Sabha seats in the next elections. And from this position of strength, we’ll ensure that only a person committed to the united Andhra cause becomes prime minister.”
Wondering how the Centre intended to resolve the river water-sharing issue, Jagan pointed out that even in the united Andhra, the issue remained unsolved with water being released to the state only after Maharashtra and Karnataka filled their reservoirs to capacity.
On Naidu, he said, “Naidu told state employees that people from Seemandhra could continue to live in Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana just as Telugus live in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Is that some argument justifying division?”
Taking on Kiran Reddy, the YSRC chief said the chief minister should have resigned immediately after the announcement of the state’s bifurcation. “He will only resign when Sonia Gandhi gives him the nod, and then go to the people shedding crocodile tears.”