Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, who is set to take oath as Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister on May 30, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his residence in New Delhi on Sunday.
Jagan presented Modi a shawl with “Om Namo Narayana’’ written on it.
The YSCRP chief’s brief meeting with Modi assumes significance because he needs the Centre’s support to get special category status for Andhra Pradesh, one of the main election planks of the YSRCP.
Much of the party’s election narrative has been to highlight the TDP government’s failure to get the NDA government to grant special status to the state. In fact, Jagan accused Naidu of going soft on the demand for special category status. The TDP, which was part of the NDA, left the alliance over the special status demand.
Now, having come to power in the state, Jagan needs the Centre’s backing to fulfill his promises. Apart from special status, Jagan needs the Centre’s backing to implement the welfare schemes he has promised in the YSRCP’s poll manifesto.
After his meeting with Modi, Jagan told reporters that he sought help from the Centre on the special category status demand. “Before the results were declared, I prayed a lot that NDA should not cross more than 250 seats. In such a situation, NDA would have needed our support and special category status would have been granted immediately. Now, the PM is not in need of our party. For me, it is a very difficult situation. I sought help from the PM and he responded positively,” he said.
“I also discussed Polavaram, Kadapa Steel Plant, and the state’s financial condition with the PM. He assured all help,’’ he added.
Sources in the YSRCP said the landslide victory has put a lot of pressure on Jagan because Andhra does not have adequate financial resources to implement the enormous welfare schemes he has promised.
The state government also needs central funds to complete the prestigious Polavaram Project and to continue the construction of a capital city at Amaravati. The previous TDP government had submitted Detailed Project Reports (DPR) estimating that Polavaram, which has been declared a national project, would require Rs 42,000 crore while the Amaravati Capital Region development would require approximately Rs 50,000 crore over 10 years. Naidu has often complained that the Centre delayed release of funds for Polavaram and Amaravati. If Jagan finds himself in a similar situation, it would become challenging for him.
Sources said that although the BJP does not need new allies, YSRCP is keen on getting aboard NDA so that it can get some favours for Andhra Pradesh.
Officials in the state finance department said the situation is precarious with debt to state Gross Domestic Product ratio at 30 per cent, which means the state is paying more than 15 per cent of its budget as interest on loans taken in the last five years.
“The good relations that Jagan has maintained with the BJP and NDA allies and Prime Minister Modi is expected to help Andhra Pradesh. Unlike Naidu, our government will maintain cordial relations with Centre and try to get all the help for our state,’’ a YSRCP leader said.