html?cp The Congress Wants to Crush Me I am confident that more defections will soon help my party gain power: Jagan

Jagan Mohan Reddy has the crowd on his side. Now, he wants the numbers in the Andhra Assembly too. The 39-year-old head of the YSR Congress is encouraged by the recent resignations of 28 legislators. Twenty-six are from Congress and two from Telugu Desam Party. Unperturbed by corruption charges framed by CBI against him and his father, the late chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, Jagan calls the cases political vendetta. In an exclusive interview to deputy editor Shantanu Guha Ray, Jagan says he is confident that more defections will soon help his party gain power. Question: - Twenty-eight Congress legislators have resigned but you still don't have enough numbers to pull the rug. A. Am I pulling the rug? Or is it the Congress? Ask those who have resigned whether I have been in touch with them. I did not call them. This is an emotional outpouring, similar to the one I am witnessing in the countryside. My father is being named a co-conspirator. He worked tirelessly for the party in Andhra Pradesh. Think of the old days and imagine the UPA without us. And now what are they doing to me? Case after case is being slapped against me, my family, my friends. My investors are being harassed. Stories are being planted in the media that I have 74 rooms in a home the size of two football fields. Even Mukesh Ambani doesn't have a house like that. What's with my business, that all my deals are dubious? And this is happening only because I defied the high command. The Congress wants to crush me. Question: - You need numbers to carry the day. How will that happen? A. I have not planned this week's big coup. The more Congress insults me, my father and my family, the more MLAs it will lose. The Congress is hated in Andhra Pradesh. They are arrogant, they do not care. They did not read the writing on the wall when the by-elections happened. They felt I would be swept away. I won the elections with five lakh-plus votes. Question: - But will you get the numbers? A. Well, if it's all about the numbers then I am confident I will get them. Recent surveys have showed where I stand, where my party stands. I have a direct connect with the people, with the grassroots. If elections are held today, I will get 240 seats in the state. This is not my arrogance, this is my confidence. I do not need the CBI to rattle a political opponent. I have God and the masses on my side. Question: - Are you are in touch with Telangana leaders?

A. Not me. They have been in touch because the Congress has humiliated them, thanks to Ghulam Nabi Azad. Telangana has split the Congress along regional lines. Question: - Congress won't remain silent. A. I do not expect them to. They have Chiranjeevi. He has 18 MLAs, one has already switched sides. And the last elections showed he draws crowds, not votes. But the Congress is nowhere on the popular support index. Name even one leader capable of attracting crowds, making them believe that what the party is doing is right. Question: - What about the charges levelled by CBI? It claims to have incriminating evidence against you. A. I have done legitimate business. I am open to any probe. But let me start with the Emaar case. My father did not clear the project. It was cleared when N. Chandrababu Naidu was the chief minister. Senior ias officer B.P. Acharya, who has been named an accused by the CBI, has drilled holes in its theory. All decisions were taken by a group of ministers headed by the finance minister. So why target Acharya? Why target me? Question: - Then there is Bharathi Cement. A. The probe is already becoming a headache for several listed companies like India Cements, Dalmia Bharat, Aurobindo Pharma, PVP Ventures, Navbharat Ventures and the Ramky group because these companies have been listed as accused. The CBI says the corporate entities invested crores in my closely held businesses as part of a quid pro quo arrangement. Where is the proof? Those were legitimate investments and the companies made decent returns on the same. French MNC Vicat, which recently acquired Bharathi Cement, is being called a fake company by the CBI. Does the agency know it is talking about the world's fifth largest cement company? Question: - But don't you think these charges are enough to end your political career? Then, there is the issue of Sandur Power Corporation. A. First, let me answer this issue of whether the CBI can spoil my party. No, it cannot. The CBI will have to prove that companies actually benefited because I took money during the time my father was chief minister. Has that happened? The answer is no. In the case of Sandur Power Company, a Bangalorebased 22.5 mw hydel generation plant with a total investment of overRs.150 crore, I got clearances much before my father became the chief minister. And if I have sold a 32.7 per cent stake in Sandur forRs.124 crore to two Mauritius-based companies and earned a premium, is that my fault? Are firms which have invested in my company fly-by-night operators? Can the CBI prove it? No it cannot, because these companies are respected all over India for their business dealings. Question: - What happens if your accounts are blocked by the CBI? A. I have a feeling it won't. If it does, thousands in my companies will have no salary. Second, the probe is yet to reach a stage where accounts need to be frozen.

Question: - Why would it be tough for the CBI? Has evidence been destroyed?. A. Isn't that very unfair? Who is saying I have destroyed all evidence? In fact, the CBI is yet to offer any concrete evidence of my alleged wrongdoing. The agency is yet to call me for questioning. I hear a lot of loose talk. The CBI raids my newspaper because it thinks it's dubious, its investors frauds. The Sakshi newspaper has an Audit Bureau of Circulation-certified 14.5 lakh circulation and over two crore readership (IRS figures).

Now look at the disparity. TheRs.1,800-crore Eenadu group, which is making losses in most of its ventures, gets its valuation done by Nimesh Kampani who pegs it atRs.6,000 crore. No one talks about it. If I get my media group's valuation done by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu atRs.3,500 crore, which is almost half that of Eenadu, then everyone will say it happened because of political clout. Can someone prove these charges before attacking me? The kind of thingsCBI is doing is mind-boggling. It just wants to get me out of the state's political scene because it knows I am a threat. Question: - And what happens if the CBI proves its charges? A. Then you will see me behind bars like Congress politicians in Tihar jail, not in the CM's chair. Read more at:

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful