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Andhra Assembly Elections 2024 | Naidu playing mind games, says AP Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath

In an interview with DH's SNV Sudhir during a short break from his campaign in his native village, Bethamcherla in Kurnool district, under the blistering sun heat, Rajendranath said TDP Chief N Chandrababu Naidu was playing mind games over a landslide victory to TDP-led NDA alliance.
Last Updated : 13 May 2024, 02:52 IST
Last Updated : 13 May 2024, 02:52 IST

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Andhra Pradesh finance minister, Buggana Rajendranath, is a key member of YS Jagan Mohan Reddy's cabinet. Over the past five years, the opposition has relentlessly attacked Jagan's government, accusing of mismanaging state finances and leading the state into a debt trap. In an interview with DH's SNV Sudhir during a short break from his campaign in his native village, Bethamcherla in Kurnool district, under the blistering sun heat, Rajendranath said TDP Chief N Chandrababu Naidu was playing mind games over a landslide victory to TDP-led NDA alliance. Rajendranath is contesting from Dhone assembly segment where he is a sitting MLA.

Q

What do you say about the assertion of TDP leaders that their alliance is going to be a landslide victory for them?

A

There is an extremely good response for YSRCP in the forthcoming election. As usual, TDP is very good at playing this mind game. This is part of TDP Chief N Chandrababu Naidu's strategy. He has powerful media on his side. So he always tries to play the mind game and it is generally the same mind game that takes them in. See to a large extent you should always be close to the truth and facts. You try to play too much of a mind game. So basically he started off this mind game with the fear between 2019 and 2024 that his party might be decimated. So then he started this big propaganda on all falsehood regarding the state and regarding the welfare scheme and state finances etc. Of which everything is false.

But sometimes what happens is too much of such falsehood takes them in because once you start getting that comfortable feeling that you are already there. Then it is the other side that falls. So in spite of all this, ultimately truth prevails. And facts are the truth. So YSRCP will come back to power with a good majority. YSRCP has a very strong base in the poor and needy sections of society which covers larger numbers. YSRCP has a very strong base in the rural areas. Our party would have had a very good base in the urban areas too if not for the false propaganda and the powerful propaganda of the TDP and affiliated media houses.

Q

As a finance minister, what is your opinion about the manifesto or super six schemes announced by TDP? The opposition party has been accusing all these years that the YSRCP government had pushed the state into debt trap.

A

That very clearly shows that N Chandrababu Naidu does not have any fixed vision or ideas or opinions. He does not understand any socio-economic issues other than him just coming back to power or being in power. All that he says he takes into account. This has been a standard part of his life. Now he has commented and made scathing comments on volunteers. He has promised volunteers more than what honorarium is being given now.

So what do you speak of him now? Similarly, all the welfare schemes that Jagan Mohan Reddy has, he has repackagedthe same thing and says he will increase the benefit that will be given to the public. So this again is a massive U-turn. So he was of the opinion that the welfare schemes are a strain on the exchequer and eat away into the money that otherwise could have been used for infrastructure creation.

Now he and infrastructure creation is what is supposedly his vision. Supposedly. So now he has promised the same, more or less the same welfare schemes with an increased outlay. So if Ammavadi is being given the same welfare scheme, he is going to increase the benefit that is being given to the family as a unit irrespective of the number of children going to school. Basically this is to incentivize the mothers in sending the children to school. Now this gentleman says that he is going to increase it and expand it to every child who goes to school. So what do you say of this? Then various other welfare schemes like old age pension, which he felt was not enough for the children, was again a strain on the exchequer. He now proposes to increase.

Q

Prime minister Narendra Modi in one of his election speeches in Andhra Pradesh said that the YSRCP government does not know fiscal management. He had also said land and liquor mafia ruling Andhra. What do you say about it?

A

So then is he, the prime minister endorsing the TDP manifesto? One, if he is endorsing the manifesto, this cannot be a remark that comes through. Because his manifesto was a part of the alliance. You mean Naidu's manifesto? Actually, if the prime minister really is concerned about what 'revadis' says, then what do you say about this? So was he not the same person who made some scathing remarks on Naidu's corruption in 2019?

No, he was not the same person? So is Naidu a changed man and has anybody certified that he is a changed man? Is there a certificate that says that Naidu has changed? I mean, we are unable to understand the meaning of this because there is no land mafia. See, it is the same TDP that says that the prices of land have not increased, etc. When the prices of land have not increased, where is the question of the mafia?

Regarding liquor mafia. It is the government that is doing the liquor business. And you can see the year-on-year growth in liquor sales. So when liquor sales grow every year, and when it is the government that is doing the sale, where is the question of any malpractice? I am at a loss to understand what it is.

Q

YSRCP at national level, has extended support to the majority of Bills that have been introduced by NDA in the Parliament. But after five years now, BJP forms an alliance with TDP and now its leaders like Amit Shah and Narendra Modi visit Andhra and now they start talking ill about the government. How do you look at it?

A

I would compare this to the life of famous Hollywood actress Elizabeth Taylor. She got married seven times in her lifetime. And it so happens that she got married, out of the seven, to the same person Richard Burton twice. Same person twice in the seven.

If you can notice in Naidu's political career, he allied with BJP, with Congress, he allied with CPI, he allied with CPM, with TRS, and not once he allied with everybody more than once. Multiple times. And while he is single, he has an alliance with everybody. While he is in an alliance, he still sees somebody, negotiating with somebody. So if you look at Naidu's political career, it reminds me of Elizabeth Taylor's life. Probably Elizabeth Taylor's life would have been more pious because she would have probably seen somebody after a divorce.

Whereas Naidu sees everybody while he is in an alliance. If not for Naidu, probably in his opportunistic endeavour is probably doing this, but I am at loss and pain to understand how the national parties are falling for this. Parties like BJP that talks of ethics and high moral ground I don't know why they are falling for this.

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Published 13 May 2024, 02:52 IST

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