YSR Congress Party chief Jaganmohan Reddy (Photo Source; PTI)
After leading his YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) to a thumping victory in both the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister-elect Jaganmohan Reddy on Sunday promised a corruption-free government in the southeastern state. The YSRCP chief, who is scheduled to be sworn-in as the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh on May 30 in Vijayawada, also assured initiate a probe into the alleged financial irregularities in the construction of new state capital Amaravati, the Polavaram project and other schemes launched by former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu. Reddy said a white paper in this regard would be released after reviewing the works of each department in the state.
Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, the Andhra Pradesh CM-elect said he would take oath alone and his cabinet would be in place in a week or 10 days, adding that his priority would be implementing his party's poll promise of "nine large-scale welfare programmes".
"I have promised to my people and I have a big responsibility to fulfil those. So, I cannot take any chance. With the blessings of the god, I will work towards that direction. In 50 days after taking oath as chief minister, I will chalk out a plan of action," Reddy was quoted as saying by media.
Jaganmohan was in the national capital to call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah to discuss the issue of special category status and financial help to the Rs 2.58 lakh crore debt-ridden state. On his meeting with PM Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, Reddy said, "Today was the first meeting with PM. God willing I'll probably meet him maybe 30, 40, 50 times over these 5 years. I'll make it a point to remind him every time, of Special Category Status...As long as we keep reminding, things will change".
Andhra CM designate Jagan Mohan Reddy: Today was the first meeting with PM. God willing I'll probably meet him maybe 30, 40, 50 times over these 5 years. I'll make it a point to remind him every time, of Special Category Status...As long as we keep reminding, things will change. pic.twitter.com/QRzSHsQ8V0— ANI (@ANI) May 26, 2019
Asked if his government would probe the alleged irregularities in the construction of the new state capital and other schemes launched by the previous government, Reddy said, "It is a Catch 22 situation. We have to look into the scams.... These are not ordinary scams. They are going to be sensational scams".
Accusing Naidu of misleading people about the place where the new capital would come up in order to buy himself land at lower rates, the CM-elect said, "This is an inside story. This is something like insider trading. He has bought vast expanses of benami land. This scam does not stop there. He forced people to sell under land pooling and exempted his own benami land". Reddy, however, added that he has nothing personal with Naidu.
Andhra CM designate Jagan Mohan Reddy: One thing I can tell you I have nothing against Chandrababu Naidu. My duty is that of a custodian. Today I'm going to promise you our govt will be revolutionary.Within 6 months-1 yr I'll make sure this govt stands as exemplary to the country pic.twitter.com/wCxOVdlCaz— ANI (@ANI) May 26, 2019
With regard to the multi-purpose Polavaram project on the Godavari river, he said, "We will probe if there was any scam in the implementation of the project. This project has to be completed as per the timeline and there is no other option".
The state did not have the mandate to complete the project but there was a necessity to finish the work, he stated. "If there is a need to involve the central government to call for reverse tenders (for the Polavaram project), that will also be done. We do not mind. All I want is that the Polavaram project should be completed in a time-bound manner," Reddy added.
Since the Centre declared it as a national project in 2014, an amount of Rs 11,210 crore has been spent on the Polavaram project. The Centre has reimbursed Rs 6,727 crore to the state government, according to the official data. The project aims to irrigate 2.91 lakh hectares, generate 960 MW of power, and fulfil the water needs of industries and 540 villages in Andhra Pradesh.
Asserting that the YSRCP-led government would be "transparent and corruption-free", Reddy said, "We will not only clean the system and show how it is cleansed, but we will also show how to stop scams". "We will bring in reverse tendering. If scams are found in a project, we will identify and cancel that work and increase the pre-qualification criteria so that a greater number of people can participate. We will give projects to those who quote less. Everything will be transparent. We will monitor all projects," he added.
The YSRCP chief said his government will be "revolutionary" and will set an example in the country. "Within six months or a year, I will make sure that this government will stand as an exemplary one in the country. I will ensure that there is no corruption and clean up the entire system," he added.
On being asked about the 32 cases lodged against him, Reddy claimed that those were filed by the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Congress, adding that the huge verdict in the Assembly polls in favour of his party was a clear indication that the cases were false.
"The cases were filed after my father's (former chief minister, late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy) death and after I left the Congress. The petitioners in the cases are none other than the TDP and the Congress," he said, adding that everyone in Andhra Pradesh knew about it and that's why people had given this verdict.
Reddy's party has won 151 of the 175 Assembly and 22 of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in Andhra Pradesh, the elections for which were held on April 11. Reddy was unanimously elected as the leader of the YSRC Legislature Party on Saturday.
(Witn inputs from agencies)