The Praja Rajyam chief Chiranjeevi is not ready to reveal which party he would support in the event of a fractured mandate, but believes that the Telugu Desam chief, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu, is craftier than the Chief Minister, Dr Y.S.Rajasekhar Reddy, who is “outspoken and bold.”
The comments may give food for thought to political analysts in the context of the Congress and the TD making overtures to get his support in the event of a hung Assembly.
“We can easily understand the strategies of Dr Reddy by observing his behaviour and words,” said Chiranj-eevi in an interview to this newspaper. “He (Dr Reddy) is fair and his actions are transparent. But, it is very difficult to gauge the gameplans of the TD chief. His attitude and behaviour change every hour. It is difficult to read his actions and predict his behaviour.”
Chiranjeevi himself is confident that his party would get the “magic number.” He said he was not even thinking about the possibility of a hung House. “If I consider that idea, it will be nothing but insulting people of the state, who voted for my party in support of change slogan and have enormous confidence in me,” he said.
According to the Praja Rajyam chief, the people of the state were intelligent enough to elect a competent government.
“The political history of our state reveals this,” he said. “Whenever polls were held, right from Srikakulam to Adilabad, voters gave uniform mandate as if all of them discussed it over the phone. This time too the same thing is going to happen.”
Interestingly, Chiranjeevi does not imagine his party occupying the Opposition seats in the Assembly either. He said the Congress was the main opponent for the Praja Rajyam in the polls, since the TD had lost credibility among people with its U-turns on several issues.
When asked why he was attacking Mr Naidu, after praising him in 2004, Chiranjeevi said he thought initially that the TD chief was doing good things for the state but had to change his opinion later. “I was moved by the spate of suicides of farmers during Mr Naidu’s regime,” he said. “Before the 2004 polls, Mr Naidu called on the actor Brahmanadam while he was shooting in a studio, to seek his support. I could not believe that a Chief Minister would stoop to that level. After that, my opinion about Mr Naidu began changing.”
He started developing a different attitude towards Dr Reddy after learning about the “realities” of his regime. “I respected Dr Reddy for taking up several projects and developmental works on a large-scale but then I heard that there was huge corruption behind all this,” Chiranjeevi said.
Chiranjeevi also pointed out that Praja Rajyam had spoiled a smooth Congress victory. “Had my party not been there, it would have been a cakewalk for the Congress,” he said. “Now, we have broken their monopoly.”
Regarding his party’s role in the national level, Chiranjeevi said that he would follow the “Tamil Nadu model” of giving priority to the interests of the state. He made it clear that his party would not align with the Congress-led UPA, the BJP-led NDA or the TD-led third front in the Centre.
“Praja Rajyam will be part of the fourth front launched by Samajawadi party at national level, and we will maintain equidistance from the other three fronts,” he said.