VIJAYAWADA: Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Ramdas Athawale, has appealed to TDP president and Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu to rejoin the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) after the General Elections in 2019. If Naidu does not consider the option, he said, the doors will be opened for YS Jaganmohan Reddy to join the alliance. The YSRC can decide whether it wants to have pre-poll or post-poll alliance, he added.
Ramdas Athawale, an MP from Maharashtra, is the founder of the Republican Party of India (A), an NDA ally.
Addressing a press conference here Thursday after a review meeting with the State officials on SC/ST welfare initiatives, the Union minister said that he was unhappy that the TDP, which was a strong ally of NDA, had left the alliance. "Narendra Modi will again become the Prime Minister in 2019. Therefore, I appeal to Chandrababu Naidu, who is a strong leader, to rejoin the alliance. This is my suggestion and a request. If he does not join us, we will appeal to Jagan to be part of the NDA for the welfare of Andhra Pradesh," he said, adding now that the TDP had left the alliance, YSRC would be a good alternative to it. He said, "Jagan is not only strong but also popular in Andhra Pradesh."
When asked about the pending cases against the Opposition leader, Athawale said they are yet to be proved. "The Congress party had brutally disturbed Jagan [with cases] after he quit the party. He wanted to become the Chief Minister of the State then, but the Congress made a mistake of not conceding his demand. If Jagan was made the CM, he would not have left the Congress," he observed.
Athawale further remarked that the Union government was ready to give 'more funds' to the State, and that it was committed to the the welfare of Andhra Pradesh. "However, special category status (SCS) can't be given as other States would also come up with a similar demand," he added.
Talking about reservations to various communities, he supported reservation for Kapus and opined that there should be 75 per cent reservation for SC, ST, BC and economically backward upper castes. "The remaining 25 per cent should be for the general category. I have spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other political parties about it and we will pursue it unil a favourable decision is taken," he said.
Athawale said inter-caste marriages would put an end to casteism in the country and urged CM Chandrababu to promote them in the State.
Special category status (SCS) can't be given as other States would also come up with a similar demand
Ramdas Athawale, Union Minister of State Justice & Empowerment