Why did Jagan meet Narendra Modi in Delhi

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy met Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Monday.

Jagan meet Narendra Modi

NEW DELHI: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy met Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Monday. YSRCP Rajya Sabha Member V Vijayasai Reddy was also present at the meeting.

Apart from serious business, there is also speculation that the Monday meeting between YS Jagan and Narendra Modi assumes significance from a political perspective. It is believed that Jagan made this hurried trip on the request of the Narendra Modi government, giving strong indications that strategic politics with mutual interests could have played the catalyst for the meeting.

Even though YS Jagan has been following a calibrated approach in his relations with the Centre, especially Narendra Modi, his party's support in Rajya Sabha suddenly became crucial for the NDA after the exit of the JD(U) of Nitish Kumar. There were also a few instances in the past where the BJP-led NDA relied on the YSRCP support in Parliament and in the elections of the President and Vice-President.

But given the changing political dynamics in Telangana, there is an all-pervading perception that the BJP might look to cash in on the Telugu Desam Party vote bank in the state. Though the TDP is nowhere in the reckoning, the party still enjoys a significant presence in certain pockets across the state. The BJP, which has been working vigorously to turn the tide on the TRS, is determined to tap into every source worth its votes to expand its base.

Against this backdrop, it is speculated that the BJP might again allow the TDP to cozy up to it despite its serious trust deficit with Chandrababu Naidu. A recent tête-à-tête between Narendra Modi and the TDP chief has fuelled this talk. For now, this is only confined to the realm of conjecture until there is a decisive move in this direction.

But also aware of the importance of the YSRCP in its scheme of things, the NDA is reportedly of the view that it should play the balancing act and send out the right message. As a combine fully aware of how optics influence the public and political opinion, the Modi-led government has reportedly decided to once again showcase the seriousness with which it treats and values the YSRCP.

The hurried meeting on Monday was just all about that, the observers feel.

Polavaram cost escalation, the bone of contention

During their meeting on Monday, several crucial aspects pertaining to Andhra Pradesh development were reported to have come up for discussion between the two leaders on this occasion. Polavaram project funds, R and R (Relief and Rehabilitation) package for the project oustees, the issue of special status and pending promises as part of the AP Reorganisation Act are among the most prominent issues that were expected to have been discussed.

The state government and Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy have been repeatedly requesting the Centre to release funds for Polavaram project based on revised estimates. However, the Centre has been stonewalling the state's request as it is not inclined to ratify the project cost escalation, leading to a stalemate on the issue.

The state government, already drawing flak for the continued delay in completing the project, is making renewed efforts to thrash out the issues with the Centre. Since the time the previous TDP regime took up the project construction post 2014 and the subsequent delays, the Polavaram project cost is believed to have witnessed a sharp rise.

The YS Jaganmohan Reddy government, which is grappling with the cost issues, is also confronted with the R and R package, which it sees as another stumbling block in expediting the pace of the project construction. Against this backdrop, the chief minister is said to have made a strong pitch during his meeting on Monday with the prime minister for quick resolution of all the pending issues.

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