Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy tells K. Srinivas Reddy in a free-wheeling chat that he will be the first Chief Minister of bifurcated Andhra Pradesh

How many seats do you think YSRC will get in this election?  

You might think I am arrogant if I give the number. With all modesty I can say it will be a sweep in the Assembly as well as the Lok Sabha polls.

Do you mean the Modi factor won’t work in Andhra Pradesh?

I don’t think Modi’s popularity will translate into votes. If one were to ask who is better between Modi and Rahul Gandhi, one might prefer Modi, but that’s only a comparison. If you ask people which party they would vote for, they would say it’s YSRCP. It’s something like Tamil Nadu. People in Tamil Nadu would prefer to vote for the AIADMK, though they may say they prefer Modi as an individual.

Why do you think so?

National leaders don’t speak our language and don’t connect. People trust local strong leadership, especially, in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

Post-election which party would you support at the Centre?

I would say I would support those who help my State develop. The bifurcation bill does not have clarity on many issues. It does not say how much money will be given to build the new capital. It’s very ambiguous.

Will your party contest in Telangana?

Why not? Our effort will be to contest as many seats as possible in Telangana.

But do you have that support base in Telangana considering your unwavering stand for a united State? 

I have been arguing that Telugu people will stay together. We wanted a big State to ensure better development. Unfortunately that did not happen. But you must also agree that I have not played divisive politics like Chandrababu Naidu. I have never criticised or denigrated Telangana people. Anyway, Telangana formation is a “done topic” now. People will now look at the leader. People who love YSR are present in Telangana and Andhra. YSR touched all sections of people irrespective of regions.

Will you tour Telangana now? Has your party identified candidates?

It could be difficult for us to tour all areas. But our focus will be on South Telangana districts. We will continue our efforts to strengthen our party after the elections.

So you will focus on Telangana after polls ?

If Sonia can control States remotely from Delhi, what makes anyone think that being the Chief Minister sitting in the next State will leave it? When our vote base is there and people love YSR , we will certainly have focus [on Telangana]. In fact it was during YSR’s rule that Telangana saw development like never before.

Chandrababu Naidu seems to have created an impression?

People do not share the impression of Chandrababu. They have already made up their minds. Let me tell you. All those who joined Telugu Desam did so only after I showed a no vacancy board. Name any leader… all of them including Ghanta to Shilpa Mohan Reddy to T.G. Venkatesh approached me, but I refused to admit them.

What will be the impact of TDP-BJP alliance?

Nothing. TDP might increase its percentage to some extent. But our vote share will be between 48 and 50 per cent, clearly 8 to 10 per cent ahead of others. People want sincerity and credibility. People have no confidence in Chandrababu and Kiran Reddy. Chandrababu supported Congress on many issues, be it the no-confidence motion in the Assembly or FDI debate in Parliament.

What do you say about the Titanium case?

How can I say anything when I am not related to it? Did it have my name? Just because of the elections, they sling mud on us.. Let them prove it.

Do you think the new party by Kiran Reddy would have an impact as he is also speaking about a united State?

Kiran’s party would be an utter failure.