"Jagan Reddy Betrayed Andhra Pradesh": Chandrababu Naidu Confident Of Win

N Chandrababu Naidu's TDP has tied up with the BJP to take on Jagan Mohan Reddy's YSCRP, which scored a thumping win in the 2019 state polls.

TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu spoke to NDTV in an exclusive interview

New Delhi:

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has betrayed the people of the state and destroyed their future, his predecessor and Telugu Desam Party president N Chandrababu Naidu told NDTV in an exclusive interview on the campaign trail.

Andhra Pradesh is among the four states where Assembly polls are being held alongside the general election. Mr Naidu's TDP has tied up with the BJP to take on Jagan Mohan Reddy's YSCRP, which scored a thumping win in the 2019 state polls.

Speaking to NDTV at Srikakulam, Mr Naidu said TDP is doing "extremely well" and that he has no doubt about a good show. "It is only a matter of numbers. People have decided, people have realised what they have lost in the last five years. Now I am seeing the response. This is my 10th election. Today, there is an extraordinary response. Every section of people is annoyed, frustrated. They want to protect the state. It is not my election, it is the election of the five crore people of Andhra Pradesh, their future and the future of their children," he said.

Before his government was voted out, Mr Naidu had started building Amaravati into the new capital of Andhra Pradesh after the state was bifurcated to create Telangana. Work, however, slowed down after Mr Reddy took over and decided to develop three capital cities -- Amaravati as legislative capital, Visakhapatnam as executive capital and Kurnool as judicial capital. The proposal was challenged in court, and the High Court struck it down. The YSRCP government has now approached the Supreme Court.

The TDP chief said the uncertainty over a capital city is among the most important issues in this election. "A capital is very important. Tamil Nadu can proudly say Chennai, Telangana can say Hyderabad, Karnataka Bangalore. After 10 years, we don't have an address, which is our capital? Jagan (Mohan Reddy) is saying three capitals. Has it been successful anywhere in the world?" he asked.

Mr Reddy, he said, has betrayed the people of Andhra Pradesh. "Bifurcation is a painful process. But, the five-year rule of Jagan Mohan reddy has done more damage than bifurcation. My duty is to protect the state and its future. I laid a very strong foundation for Hyderabad and wealth was created. Here, in Amarvati, I got everything done, but he destroyed the future of Andhra in the name of three capitals," he said.

TDP's return to the NDA comes six years after a bitter separation over Mr Naidu's demand for a special status for Andhra Pradesh. Asked about his return to the NDA fold, he said, "I tried to get special status, but it didn't happen. But I got so many things, 11 all-India institutes of education and health, IIT, IIM, IISER, NIT, AIIMS.

They (Centre) gave money, clearances for Amravati, capital gains exemption for farmers, all this I got, and today, we have lost everything. But with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision and my experience, we will make Andhra Pradesh the best," he said.

The Prime Minister, he said, is planning for 2047. "He wants to make India and Indians no 1 globally. We want to coordinate with the central government and fulfil aspirations of the Telugu community, that is my dream. I am confident that we will do justice," he said.

Mr Naidu, who is also the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, stressed that the state's economy is in bad shape due to the YSRCP government's policies. "Bluffing the poor is not the correct approach, creation of wealth is important, you have to balance welfare and development, only then will there will be a sustainable ecosystem. Now it's corruption and looting the state. Opportunities have been destroyed. All institutions have been destabilised, this is chaos. Government properties have been mortgaged. He (Reddy) is thinking only about today, not tomorrow. He has borrowed 13 lakh crores," he said.

On a question on the allegations of corruption against him, the TDP chief said, "Could they produce even one piece of evidence? Political victimisation is different. He (Reddy) has a vast track record. He wanted to throw mud at me, he is trying his best, but the nation knows my character. For 45 years, I have survived in politics for my credibility, honesty, integrity. No one can question it."

Mr Naidu was also asked about the Congress's claims that Prime Minister Modi is a no factor as far as elections in south India are concerned. "The situation has changed. Earlier, regional parties were dominant. People are thinking differently now. Local leadership with strong national leadership will help us," he said.

On the recent incident in which a stone was thrown at Chief Minister Reddy, leaving him injured, Mr Naidu said, "The Chief Minister is a habitual liar. A small stone that is not visible or traceable, and he is claiming an assassination attempt. This is just drama, every election he needs drama. He is a good drama actor."