The Member of Parliament from Narasapuram Lok Sabha Constituency in Andhra Pradesh Raghu Rama Krishna Raju is known for his outspokenness that made him land in several controversies. A close ally many former Chief Ministers and Ministers in the state of Andhra Pradesh, the ruling YSRCP MP of late, has begin to differ with his own party decisions by condemning the misdemeanours.
However, he refused to be called it as a dissenting voice and share his views on several contentious issues like the Amaravati agitation, the future of Andhra Pradesh, his relationships with other parties and his possibilities of joining BJP in his exclusive interview with our Correspondent as revealed during a ‘Talk Show with Aravind Kolli’.
Excerpts from Interview:
It’s been a while that you have been to your constituency, why does your presence be more in the news rather than in your constituency?
Ans: I am visiting tomorrow and before lockdown I was there and we went to parliament and a nationwide lockdown was imposed and it got extended, thus there were strict instructions not to go there. Then the reasons for being on news is I have disagreed the decision of government to sell of TTD’s (Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam’s) properties, as the devotee’s participation and decision should be considered at such matters. Post lockdown the price of construction sand increased multi-fold and it became horrendous for construction industry, workers and people depend upon it, I took it to the notice of the government, such incidents have often put me on spotlight and made my presence in the news.
In the past you have been a member of TDP and also worked with BJP for a while, how would you react to being called a puppet of those parties?
Ans: Nothing like that. I do have friends from BJP at central level especially after becoming an MP, I still maintain those friendly relations but never get influenced by them.
You have been close to many crucial Telugu political leaders like Y.S Rajasekhar Reddy, Chandrababu Naidu, Venkaiah Naidu and many more till YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. Whom do you feel more comfortable with among all those?
Ans: With N. Janardhan Reddy and YS Rajasekhar Reddy I used to feel very comfortable, I used to freely talk with them and meet whenever I have to meet. When Kiran became Chief Minister, he to used to respond to my messages and calls instantly.
After being working with all those prominent leaders all these years, why does such discomfort bridge lie between you and Jagan Mohan Reddy?
Ans: May be because after working with previous chief ministers, who are elected representatives of combined Andhra Pradesh state. He being a chief minister of half-state and having too many formalities to reach him might make me feel discomfort with him. And I didn’t even meet him for a while and there was no tussle between us, may be people around him might have created some gap. But I don’t understand why people from the party took a special helicopter and went to Delhi to disqualify me.
Why doesn’t Chief Minister take action against those who tried to disqualify you?
Ans: I have never opposed party decisions, nor tried to split the party or any other means of disrupting the atmosphere in the party. Under the circumstances, there is no way they can disqualify me. I questioned in the Parliament about the govt’s decision of imposing English as medium of instruction and on the decision of forming three capitals like in South Africa. Is there any anti-Constitutional activity in this.
Your party has banned a few media organisations, but regularly you are appearing on them and giving interviews for them.
Ans: It’s not an official ban, there will be party representatives, giving interviews and participating in live discussions they may get instructions from party to choose specific media organisations. But I am a people’s representative. I have right to speak anywhere. You may not believe it, nobody from the party have told me not to attend those interviews or live debates. But strangely, I was not invited by Sakshi even for once after I became an MP.
What do you comment on KVP Rama Chandra Rao’s role in Sharmila’s entering into Telangana Politics?
Ans: I don’t think Sharmila can compete with KCR, as he is a dynamic leader in Telangana with great competence. When it comes to KVP’s or my interference of Sharmila into Telangana politics, they are just baseless statements from media. Like any others, I too had analysed politically. I don’t see any logic behind KCR or BJP behind Sharmila’s entry in Telangana as they both are active and competing with each other. Everybody knows that YS Rajasekhar Reddy was against separation. Hence, Sharmila has no right to ask for votes in the Telangana region. No doubt, she is a crowd puller and hard worker. That doesn’t help emerge her party in Telangana unless the objective is to unite both Telugu states. I don’t think so it will happen but it happened in Germany in 1940s wherein East and West Germany merged together.
How do you compare the development index between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh?
Ans: Though the opposition has many issues in Telangana, the priority given to irrigation projects by KCR is unbeatable. Although the idea has been derived from YS Rajasekhar Reddy, the production of rice in Telangana has increased and water supply reached many households through mission Bhagiratha. Of course, Telangana is doing well, after taking so many loans, but still the debt ratio is less than Andhra Pradesh.
Now let’s focus on Andhra, how brisk the developmental activities are happening and what’s going in the state?
Ans: Fundamentals of Andhra Pradesh are very strong. Agriculture and aquaculture in Godavari districts are playing key role in strengthening economy. Industries and Pharma companies were around from a long period of time, but new industries were not being set up in the last few years. Because the focus has shifted to welfare, most of the schemes are welfare based. I observe the priority given to the welfare schemes is not being given to developmental activities which is hampering the economy of the state. The misutilization of money through various government schemes has reflective in the spike of liquor prices
Sarcasm is considered as an adornment for the people of Godavari, but you took it to peaks through your sense of humour.
Ans: I think it is genetically imbibed in the people of Godavari. But I was born and brought up in Vijayawada and I used to visit my village often especially during the Sankranthi festival. I think I might have learnt from my relatives and family members.
What could be the reason behind Vijay Sai Reddy’s focus and working on Visakhapatnam and with all the industries, steel plant and port what could be the future of Visakhapatnam?
Ans: He might like the seashore. And now they are discussing to make it a capital city, after he became the in charge of Visakhapatnam only the decision of capital came into place, that too as an important capital. If you check the meaning of capital in any dictionary, it is defined as ‘seat of the governance’ in Cochin they have high court, will they call it judicial capital. There was no such thing exist like 3 capitals like what they have been referring to South Africa wherein currently, agitations are going on against 3 capitals.
It is nothing but just mimicking foreign methods. Visakhapatnam is not ideal for the capital city, it is a beautiful city, let us keep it like that with all the industries and various economy-boosting companies. Amaravathi is an ideal location for the capital with sufficient land, water and other resources.
Your government is being criticised for encouraging caste-politics. Your comment, please?
Ans: It is partly true, especially in Amaravathi issue where in particular community has been targetted as 60% of the farmers who gave away their lands to Amaravathi Capital are belongs to SC and BC castes. Kammas are only 18% Reddys are 22%. Though kammas are marginal comparatively, they are hardworking like ants. In my opinion, the people who work hard should be given a chance in nation building. I agree that few decision have been taken in my party against Kamma people.
Then why do you think you got strolled on Social Media?
No doubt there is an unhealthy atmosphere in the state, I too got trolled for a short period of time. Nobody wishes for a government to fall, it is even undemocratic. I believe the reason for this hostile environment is due to few people around our CM, there is communication gap between CM and MLAs, even he is there between CM and people. These are the problems due to that disconnect, I hope them to get resolved.
Are you joining BJP? If so, will you get the ticket in the next election?
Ans: At this moment I have no interest in joining BJP. I am not a fool to believe that my party will give me ticket in next election but I will always be in politics that’s for sure.
There is a buzz going on that you will be contesting as a CM candidate in 2024 elections on behalf of BJP
Ans: I told you right 2024 would be too early for BJP to aspire for CM post, considering the present political climate in the state. And I am an elected MP from this party, let me stay in YSRCP now, and think about 2024 in the future.