After securing a big election win, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister-elect Jagan Mohan Reddy met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his residence in Delhi this morning. He also met BJP chief Amit Shah.
Jagan Mohan Reddy's YSR Congress Party has been elected to power with a massive mandate of 151 seats in the 175-member state assembly, virtually decimating Chandrababu Naidu's Telugu Desam Party that won just 23 seats. In the Lok Sabha, the YSR Congress Party lawmakers will now represent 22 of 25 state's parliamentary constituencies. The TDP has won just three Lok Sabha seats.
Jagan Mohan Reddy, responding to the astounding win, told NDTV on Thursday that he intends to pursue PM Modi for Andhra's Special Category Status and said he "will persist till he gives in".
Twenty five Lok Sabha seats "should be enough to bring up the Special Status", he had said but didn't hide his concerns. He indicated that "with this kind of mandate in Delhi" for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, getting Special Status for his state may be difficult.
"Our demands for special status will always continue. I will personally take an appointment with PM Modi and meet him about this. We will continue to pursue the demands," the YSR Congress chief said.
It was Jagan Reddy's push for the Special Status for Andhra Pradesh that is said to be at the bottom of Chandrababu Naidu's move to part company with the BJP last year and join the opposition camp. Mr Naidu's TDP walked out of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's coalition for not granting special category status to the state as promised after Telangana was carved out of it in 2014.
Special status will mean a large infusion of central funds to help with the state government's plans to develop its new capital Amravati.
Earlier this year, Jaganmohan Reddy held a 3648-km padyatra to highlight the alleged failings of Telugu Desam Party president Chandrababu Naidu, saying he did not fight for special category status for Andhra Pradesh and did not act on farmer loan waiver. His campaign for Andhra special status is being counted as one of the reasons for his big election win.
Mr Reddy is the son of one of Andhra Pradesh's most popular chief ministers, YS Rajashekhara Reddy, who died in a chopper crash in 2009. The 46-year-old, who inherited his father's supporters, still had to make his mark at the head of a new party formed in 2011.
On Saturday, Jagan Reddy met Andhra Pradesh Governor ESL Narasimhan in Hyderabad and staked claim to form the government in the state. Earlier in the day, he was unanimously selected by the newly elected YSR Congress lawmakers as the leader of the Legislature Party.
At the legislature and parliamentary party meeting, Jaganmohan Reddy reportedly took a dig at his political rival Chandrababu Naidu, pointing out that Mr Naidu had taken away 23 legislators and three members of parliament from the YSR Congress party after the 2014 elections. "God had now ensured that he got precisely that number after the 2019 elections," he said.
He also visited Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao and invited him for his oath-taking ceremony on May 30. The two leaders discussed ways in which they could work together for the benefit of both Telugu states.
Both KCR and Jagan had hoped to bargain together with the Centre if the Union government formation needed their support after the national election. However, the BJP returned to power for a second term with a clear mandate. KCR has, however, said he would continue to support Andhra's demand for special status.