On April 7, Jana Sena’s Lok Sabha candidate from Visakhapatnam, V V Lakshmi Narayana, publicly released his manifesto on a Rs 100 stamp paper and said people could drag him to court if he failed to implement any one of his promises.
Narayana, popularly known as JD or Joint Director, was the CBI’s joint director in Andhra Pradesh when YSRCP chief Jagan Mohan Reddy was sent to jail for 16 months in a disproportionate assets case in 2012. Narayana handled several high profile cases during his tenure, including the illegal mining case against BJP leader Gali Janardhan Reddy. With seven years of service left, he took voluntary retirement in 2018, and joined Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena in March 2019. In the Lok Sabha race, he is up against CM Chandrababu Naidu’s son-in-law, Sri Bharath of the TDP, NTR’s daughter and BJP candidate Purandeswari Daggubati, and YSRCP’s MVV Satyanarayana.
In a freewheeling chat with indianexpress.com, Narayana talks about the party’s alliance with the BSP, where the TDP failed and the case against Jagan.
On what issues are you fighting this election on? What is your vision for the constituency?
During my tour I have found in many places people are not having enough drinking water and it lacks quality. My first priority is to provide drinking water.
Second is pollution. Because of the ports and also a lot of material keeps getting dumped here. Vehicular pollution is also a big issue. These two things need to be treated.
Third is employment. So many children are coming out with degrees, but they don’t have enough employment.
Fourth is the land mafia operating in Vizag. If you see, many government and private lands have been encroached.
You spoke about hand holding when it comes to employment. Is giving dole to the unemployed a good thing?
In 2014, the present government and CM said if you vote for me, I will give you a job. But that has not happened. So they are trying to lure these youngsters by giving an unemployment allowance. This is not correct.
Children are looking for jobs. They are looking to become entrepreneurs. A leader should generate more leaders not followers by such type of doles.
Why are you contesting on a Lok Sabha ticket and not Assembly?
If you see the financial position of the states, a dependence on the Centre is very much there. Majority of the policies which affect the state are made by the Centre.
The president of the party, Pawan Kalyan, said our voice should be heard in Lok Sabha, so he said you need to go to Parliament. Anyway, he (Pawan) is contesting from Gajuwaka so he will look after the state.
You made a late entry into the Jana Sena and got a ticket. Do you think it is unfair for those who have been with party since its inception?
There is nothing like a heartburn in the party with my entry and especially allocation to Lok Sabha. It (Jana Sena) is not like other parties where if you don’t get a seat, you overnight change your party and abuse your previous party.
Were you in talks with the TDP before joining Jana Sena?
Actually, all parties have approached me when I expressed my desire to join politics.
Was Pawan Kalyan the deciding factor?
Pawan and I are good friends. We have been talking on various issues since 2013. Last year also, before joining Jana Sena, we had two-three sittings.
He’s a man who wants to sacrifice his life for society, I also have similar feelings, so our frequency and wavelengths match. That is why I could join him, we are gelling well, and we are doing extremely well.
Pawan is the face of the party. Is it correct to say that you are the number 2?
In other parties there are too many followers, but in JS there are many leaders, it is not that only one should be there. We are all working under Pawan Kalyan’s guidance and leadership.
What is the strategy behind giving BSP, a regional force in Uttar Pradesh, so many seats in Andhra?
Actually, no party is representing the Bahujanas. If you see JS and our ticket distribution, cutting across all castes everybody was given a seat. And the alliance with the BSP reflects the party’s intention.
You previously handled a disproportionate assets case. Mayawati is also facing similar charges. Do you think it was a right decision to join hands with her at this stage?
The matters you are referring to is sub-judice. She (Mayawati) is heading the party and representation of every individual, especially of the downtrodden, has been there. It is a good strategy working with the BSP. Our president has taken this move and it is good for the party and society.
Given the poor conviction rate of central agencies like ED and CBI, do you think Jagan’s DA case will reach its logical conclusion anytime soon?
Your apprehension is not correct. Conviction rate in CBI is 75 per cent, at least when I left the agency. Enough evidence has been collected and it is presented to the court. The matter is sub-judice and it will take its own course.
How strong is the evidence against Jagan?
Generally, chargesheet is filed when there is evidence. This is the principle. And in the CBI the vetting is done in several layers, it goes all the way up to the Director. It is not like somebody decides and a charge sheet was filed. It doesn’t happen like that.
The JS is practising something called zero budget politics…
We don’t distribute money or liquor, we don’t divide people on caste. We are working for the welfare of the people and within the EC limits for spending. We will ensure that good politics come to the state. Otherwise people are losing faith in the system.
How would you rate the last five years of Chandrababu Naidu?
In 2014, JS supported Naidu with the vision that the state had just been bifurcated and he (Naidu) has some experience in administration. We thought he would continue with the same zeal and enthusiasm. Of late, the corruption levels have increased.
Is the JS open for post-poll alliances?
When we are winning the elections there is no thought of any post-poll alliance. We are winning and Pawan Kalyan is going to become the Chief Minister.
How many seats is the party expecting (in the state elections)?
Minimum: 88, maximum: 175