- He says a hung Parliament will improve regional parties' bargaining power
- National parties have no role to play in Andhra Pradesh, he adds
- The YSR Congress president says national parties have lost credibility
YSR Congress president Jagan Mohan Reddy says he prefers a hung Parliament instead of the BJP or the Congress getting a clear majority at the Centre.
"When the numbers come, I think there will be a hung Parliament. What I am hoping for is also a hung Parliament. Only then national parties will learn not to mock democracy," Mr Reddy told NDTV in an exclusive interview while he was on his election campaign trail at Vijayawada.
The reason the 46-year-old YSR Congress president says that is because he believes that will improve the regional parties' bargaining power and ability to negotiate with the Centre on various issues.
Both the national parties, the BJP as well as the Congress are not centre stage in the Andhra Pradesh political theatre, he says.
"National parties have no role to play in Andhra Pradesh. They lost their credibility because of their double standard on Special Category status and the way they bifurcated the state against the wishes of the people. They have lost credibility. People mistrust national parties. We want a regime that will give Special Category status before we support them," he told NDTV.
Jagan Mohan Reddy says he is open to partnering with any leader or coalition at the centre as long as they give special category status to Andhra Pradesh.
"Yes, absolutely. To me Special Category status is more than anything else. Whosoever gives I will support and would work with anybody. As long as they give Special Category status and what was promised on the floor of Parliament, a promise made on the floor of the House," he says.
To a question on what emotions he holds vis-a-vis the Congress for what he went through after his father YS Rajasekhar Reddy's death in a helicopter crash in 2009, Jagan Mohan Reddy said he was forgiving and had forgiven.
"I believe in God. I pray to God. I read the Bible every day. Vengeance is not for me. I am forgiving and I have forgiven."
Mr Reddy is in fact hoping that along with K Chandrashekar Rao's Telangana Rashtra Samithi and All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen or AIMIM, they will together bargain for Special Category status for Andhra Pradesh.
"I thank KCR Garu for what he has done. He pledged support for Special Category status. He has pledged his 17 MPs to back us. So with 42 members we become a formidable group. Anyone who is wanting to form a government in Delhi, would definitely need our support. Definitely we would operate as a group. As of now, KCR Garu is strongly with us," Mr Reddy said.
On probes against him by the Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate and other agencies, Mr Reddy reiterated that it is all politically motivated.
"For nine years people have seen me. I was an honourable man till my father was alive. I was an honourable man till I was with the Congress. You know who petitioned against me... The TDP and the Congress after I left the Congress... I was not in government, I was not MP or MLA. I was not even in Hyderabad."