Interview: It is neck to neck in Pithapuram, YSRCP will cross 150 seats; P Midhun Reddy

Unlike earlier years, he has not been restricted to his Parliamentary constituency but has been given specific tasks across the state

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  11 May 2024 1:21 PM GMT
Interview: It is neck to neck in Pithapuram, YSRCP will cross 150 seats, P Midhun Reddy

Tirupati: After being elected from Rajampet as a Member of Parliament in 2014, PV Midhun Reddy not just grew to be the YSRCP face in the Parliament but also one of the most trusted lieutenants in chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s camp.

Midhun Reddy has been assigned the task of ‘looking after’ the Pithapuram Assembly constituency which is seeing an interesting electoral battle between Jana Sena Party chief Pawan Kalyan and senior politician Vanga Geetha. Unlike earlier years, he has not been restricted to his Parliamentary constituency but has been given specific tasks across the state.

In a conversation with Coreena Suares and Sri Lakshmi Muttevi in Tirupati, Midhun claims that the most difficult task of the elections is to get people to vote.

Excerpts of the Interview:

NM: You have been an MP for three terms. What have been your deliverables to the constituency and why should people re-elect you?

Midhun Reddy: The last time I spoke to you (Coreena Suares) was in 2014. I remember telling you that I wanted to bring drinking and irrigation water to my constituency. In 2014, my party YSRCP did not come to power and I was in the opposition. A majority of my work on the ground began after 2019 when YSRCP won.

As you know Rajampet is a dry belt and water is of utmost priority. With the help of the chief minister, two major projects have been sanctioned: Handri Niva and Galeru Nagari. The government invested Rs 5,000 crores to connect these two projects which is in the execution stage. They are laying a pipeline right from the CM’s constituency in (Kadapa) and water is being pumped to the most backward areas.

This area is as bad as the desert region of Rajasthan. The situation has been very bad in the last couple of years and insufficient rainfall has added to the worst-case scenario. Once the project is operational, the area will receive water for drinking and irrigation. The status of the project as of today is a completed canal in Chandragiri. Once the water is there, we can fill all the tanks. This connecting project is almost 30 per cent done.

Besides these two projects, the government is working on constructing three reservoirs for storage. These two will transform the entire constituency completely. So, there are seven Assembly seats in Rajampet and they will be covered in the project. So, it’s a major achievement for providing water to the region. If I do this, my life’s aim is done.

It took 15 years to reach here since some vested interests have taken the matter to the Supreme Court. We are hopeful that the SC will give the order in our favour and the projects will be completed.

NM: You began your journey with the YSRCP in 2014 as an MP and now you are one of their trusted aides. What are the other tasks given to you in the 2024 elections? How different is YS Jagan Mohan Reddy then and now?

Midhun Reddy: See, for me politically, 2014 was my beginning. After my win, I was given the responsibility as the YSRCP chief whip in the Parliament. Then, in 2019, he (CM Jagan) gave me one more district, Anantapur, as a responsibility.

Now in 2024, he has given me my Parliamentary seat and another 36 seats in West and East Godavari, which are supposed to be a strong belt of the Opposition alliance. So, it has proven to be challenging and I think I’ll be successful in building the YSRCP presence. I am also the YSRCP in-charge of Pithapuram where the battle is between Vanga Geetha and Pawan Kalyan.

Concerning the chief minister, he has been successful in running a stable government and ensuring that the party is clean from political infiltration. With the help of current MLAs, MPs and party members, CM Jagan has turned the YSRCP into an organisation.

Slowly, he (CM Jagan) is encouraging the youth and young leaders which can be seen in how at my age he made me a floor leader. It’s all because he’s encouraging me to get funds from the Janaseva mission. Even during Covid-19, which was the greatest challenge for any government, he balanced his promises.

He developed 44,000 government schools and built 16 medical colleges, ports and 10 fishing harbours. About development in Andhra, I can challenge that there’s no other state which has done so much in the past five years; you can say technically three years. The 10 fishing harbours will act like satellite ports now. AP has one of the longest coastlines in India. Imagine how much work can be done here.

NM: How are you managing the responsibilities of your Parliamentary constituency, 36 seats in East and West Godavari and Pithapuram polls?

Midhun Reddy: See, I knew earlier that I'd be given a role in the party. It’s not that I’ve been given just one month before the election. This has been in the planning for two years and it’s not that I go around my constituency just during the elections.

In fact, I have frequented my constituency the least during the elections, because I have completed my ground work. It’s a continuous process for me. I don’t believe in working only before the elections. Hence, I’m comfortable touring the state now.

According to me, I’m really comfortable in my Parliamentary constituency because our party has a very strong base and luckily with whatever I could do I don’t think I have earned a bad name or developed any anti-incumbency over the years. So, I think the YSRCP will win with a decent majority no matter who is in my position.

NM: How do you look at this alliance? You have the BJP-TDP-JSP and Congress on one side and then you have CM Jagan on the other side. What are the advantages and disadvantages for the YSRCP?

Midhun Reddy: Basically, in politics, 1 + 1 is not 2. The whole vote share doesn’t change just like that and the alliance won’t add to the vote share.

Like I said, last time the YSRCP won with 49 per cent vote share. This time I think we are likely to win 51 per cent of votes all through the state. The maximum they (the alliance) can reach is 46-45 per cent. We will still have an edge of 3 to 4 per cent throughout the state.

YSRCP has a solid karyakarta base who work for the party on the ground. The biggest strength is the people themselves who are the beneficiaries of the schemes. If you see, no recommendation is required for any scheme. All that eligible beneficiaries should do is visit their ward office and enrol and the schemes will follow. You should visit the ward offices where all the beneficiaries’ names are put on the board. It’s very transparent.

Every village has a Gram Sachivalayam with complete staff; from health, revenue, police and everything else necessary. Anyone who needs a certificate can directly reach out to the Gram Sachivalayam instead of a middleman. In this way, even pensions are being delivered home. We have a volunteer system that works very well.

There are timely health screenings across villages and free medicines are being provided. From school education to health services, everything has been provided. Today, people can get a birth and caste certificate within three days of application. Such is the shift in governance under the YSRCP government and all these services play in the minds of the common people.

We have everything transparent. People are very comfortable with this State Government.

NM: Do you think Pawan Kalyan’s connection with youth will impact YSRCP's chances in Pithapuram?

Midhun Reddy: See, the movie craze is different from politics. They (the public) need trust and consistency. After the elections, Pawan Kalyan will not be there since he has already signed five movies. Later, again he’ll come before elections and try to swing his caste vote bank.

However, if you see our CM, even when we lost in 2014, he kept visiting constituencies. He was in the public’s view. Hence, people trust him.

People have seen the dichotomous behaviour of Pawan Kalyan. He promised so many people tickets and finally, he had to it give it to the TDP guys in the alliance sharing. He is inconsistent and an actor like him cannot be a politician.

He’s (Pawan) not a serious politician. It’s just that he gets emotional and hyper in his speeches.

NM: What are your thoughts about your neighbouring MP constituency candidate YS Sharmila?

Midhun Reddy: She will lose. People will vote for YSRCP. Political legacy is carried by one person and here too inconsistency comes into focus. Had she been there continuously, had she been with the public throughout then they would have trusted her. She is siding with Chandrababu Naidu. She is towing their line. So it’s very evident that she’s been influenced by Babu (Chandrababu Naidu) through Telangana CM Revanth Reddy. There were more TDP flags than Congress flags when the latter won in the state.

So, you have to understand the whole nexus among political parties that’s happening. People are not so dumb and no one will buy her story.

What did she say six months ago? She said ‘I’m married to Telangana and I don’t have anything to do with Andhra. This is my place. I’m going to be here.’ Now she’s saying ‘No, I’m the president here. I’m going to be in Andhra.’ People are watching all this. She won’t even get her deposit.

NM: The party looks confident of a sweep. But what are your surveys saying and what are the conservative figures?

Midhun Reddy: Our CM is confident of 150 plus seats. Why I will tell you this because they’re 84 per cent of beneficiaries from the approximately five crores population. No matter what has happened so far, they have benefited. By beneficiaries, I don’t mean the distribution of freebies. Secondly, ours is an honest government, unlike the TDP. Jagan has brought so much development to the state and people can see that. So I think we will pass 150 seats.

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