Asad keeps Jagan at arm's length - The New Indian Express

Asad keeps Jagan at arm's length

Published: 11th October 2013 07:51 AM

Last Updated: 11th October 2013 08:52 AM

Even as YSRC chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy is preparing to build his party to face the big electoral test in 2014, he seems to be confronted with a serious threat - losing the Muslim vote.

The opinion that has already set in among leaders of the Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), the single largest Muslim party in Andhra Pradesh, is that the credentials of YSRC, insofar as its position towards the BJP is concerned, are doubtful. Though MIM’s presence, in terms of seats in Parliament or Assembly is confined to Hyderabad, the line taken by the party is generally seen as influencing minorities in other parts of the State as well.

It all started on September 30, when Jagan, at his first press conference after coming out of jail, praised development in Gujarat and opined that Narendra Modi should take the lead in bringing together secular forces.

In a tweet that has become public only now, though tweeted the same day, MIM chief and MP Asaduddin Owaisi, taunted Jagan saying: “Jagan must remember that the 02 in Gujarat was a genocide program by moozhi administration or “administrator.”

In another development, it has now come to light that messages were sent across to the MIM leadership soon after Jagan came out on bail that he intends to visit the Muslim party’s office in Hyderabad.

But, the MIM response was rather lukewarm and it was suggested to Jagan that the visit could be thought of at a later date.

“If only Jagan came to our office and then, made the statement in favour of Modi, it would have caused immense damage to the image of MIM and given our detractors an opportunity to hit out at us. Now, there is no question of MIM extending direct or indirect support to the YSRC,” a senior party leader said.

The MIM’s discomfort with Jagan reportedly stems from various reasons. one, unlike his father, late YSR, who came out with substantial measures favouring Muslims while in power, they have not seen Jagan in action for long enough to be comfortable with his attitude; two, information to MIM that the YSRC had got some surveys conducted in Gujarat to study the model of governance there sowed the first seeds of suspicion; three, MIM leadership is also of the view that unlike YSR, it would be difficult for them to deal with Jagan.

Muslims account for a significant 12.5% of voters in Rayalaseema, spread across all the four districts. In Andhra, however, they constitute only 4.5% with their presence largely confined to the districts of Nellore, Prakasam, Guntur and Krishna, apart from Visakhapatnam city.

The coming together of YSRC and CPM, which was in the air for sometime now, also seems doubtful with both the parties seeming to having a rethink. While YSRC is calculating the pros and cons of having to allot 10-15 seats to the Communist party, the latter is not sure which way Jagan will swing finally.

“They are sending signals to us and at the same time meeting top BJP leaders in Delhi. We prefer to adopt a wait and watch attitude,” a senior CPM leader remarked.

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