BJP Wanted YSRCP In Cabinet, Jagan Weighs Options
While the BJP managed to get the Janata Dal to join the Union Cabinet, its attempts to rope in a Jagan Mohan Reddy led YSR Congress Party, with offers of Cabinet posts, fell through after the regional party rejected the idea at the last minute.
Close sources said the BJP, which had tried to get the YSRCP into a pre-poll alliance ahead of the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections, resumed talks with Reddy before the July 7 Cabinet expansion.
“The process was initiated to have YSRCP in the Cabinet. The deal was almost done. There were offers of a Cabinet post, an Independent charge and a Minister of State. But later, the discussion came round to two Cabinet posts, and the BJP leadership was not ready for it,” said a source familiar with the developments, adding that Reddy “had the inclination” to join the government and had even “finalised the names” for the posts.
Asked if both the parties had come close to clinching a deal, YSRCP parliamentary party leader V Vijayasai Reddy told The Indian Express, “There were some discussions. But only the Honourable Chief Minister can comment on what happened.”
A source said that while Reddy’s decision not to accept the offer “infuriated the BJP leadership”, the Andhra CM maintained that he “would remain friendly towards the Centre and extend issue-based backing to it”.
YSRCP had won 22 of the 25 Lok Sabha seats and 151 of the 175 Assembly seats in the 2019 elections. Party leaders said Kishor would continue to advise Reddy in the upcoming elections too.
During Banerjee’s recent visit to the national capital, she shared good and warm ties with Reddy and indicated that doors were open for parties like the BJD and YSRCP, which have been on the fence when it comes to supporting the Modi govt.
When asked if the party is considering joining the group of parties against the BJP, YSRCP leader Vijayasai Reddy said, “It’s a political decision that has to be taken by the CM.”
The Andhra CM, meanwhile, is weighing his options. “The UP elections and the presidential election that are coming up in the first half of 2022, could offer early hints of which way the wind is blowing. Like every other regional party, YSRCP is keeping a close eye on the political developments and re-alignments in Uttar Pradesh,” said a leader.