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|March 7, 1998|
The Rediff Election Interview/ Dr Y S Rajasekhar Reddy
'We will persuade Sonia Gandhi to become prime minister'
Chief minister-in-waiting. The Cuddapah 'Tiger'. Major faction leader.
Detractors denounce Dr
Election time, and Cuddapah grabs national attention because of its bomb culture
and mindless violence. Dr Reddy has been accused of engineering some of these incidents, but he stoutly denies the allegations. So also the charges that he betrayed his Congress rivals during elections.
Tired at the end of his hectic campaign schedule for his fourth Lok Sabha term (he won again), the Tiger fails to roar. He refuses to break out of his inaudible drone even while brushing aside
Detractors denounce DrY S Rajasekhar Reddy as a back-stabber. Loyalists hail him as the uncrowned king of Andhra Pradesh.
Election time, and Cuddapah grabs national attention because of its bomb culture and mindless violence. Dr Reddy has been accused of engineering some of these incidents, but he stoutly denies the allegations. So also the charges that he betrayed his Congress rivals during elections.
Tired at the end of his hectic campaign schedule for his fourth Lok Sabha term (he won again), the Tiger fails to roar. He refuses to break out of his inaudible drone even while brushing asideJ S Sai's queries with smiles and 'let us see'.
You have always been chief minister-in-waiting...
(Laughs) Who says so?
It's said that you are a major faction leader who does not allow other leaders to grow. A virtual banyan tree...
Find out for yourself how true the allegations are.
I thought I would have it from the horse's mouth.
Though you have been in the Congress, you have allegedly ensured the defeat of several party candidates by backing the Telugu Desam Party nominees.
It's not so. In some cases, some of my colleagues did this as they felt I got a raw deal from the party. They were not listening. What can I do?
Is it not incredible that the Tiger's followers rebel against him, and get away with it? Is the Tiger known for such benevolence?
(Laughs) Let's see.
What was the impact of Sonia's campaign?
Very nice. (Raising his voice) Fantastic.
Who will be the prime minister if the Congress gets the majority?
But she has stated that she is not interested in such posts.
Today she may be against becoming the prime minister. Till the other day, she was also against campaigning for the party. Tomorrow, we will persuade her to take up the responsibility.
What do you think of the Cuddapah bomb culture?
Not even one bomb has been used in this election.
In the past?
It is all media hype.
It is said that you were behind some of these bomb attacks.
There are no faction wars.
So you're not involved at all.
Though you have been the Cuddapah MP for three terms, there has been hardly any development in the region.
I have been at the forefront of all agitations which would benefit the region. I have been instrumental in getting a power project, a railway line, some other projects....
But even drinking water is not available in some of the villages in Pulivendla (from where he hails)?
Not so. We have made some progress. Some more has to be done. The Centre has recently sanctioned a Rs 2.5 million scheme, enabling all the inhabitants to get water.
Has it been implemented?
It is being tested.
Why was former prime minister P V Narasimha Rao denied a ticket?
Under certain circumstances, certain heads have to roll!
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