YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, popularly known as Jagan Reddy, emerged tall after an epic electoral win, vanquishing his rivals to claim the top seat in Andhra Pradesh.
Jagan's lack of experience to govern a state has not come in the way. Voters may have been indifferent to the cases on disproportionate assets pending against him. His rival and current Telugu Desam Party chief minister Chandrababu Naidu, who walked out of the NDA, will end up as a poor second.
Even in the worst of his dreams, Telugu Desam Party president, N. Chandrababu Naidu who wears his four-decade long political experience on his sleeve, would not have imagined that one day he would have to face a crushing defeat at the hands of a 46-year-old YSRCP president, Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.
Even though Jagan Reddy took decisions which led Andhra Pradesh top as the number one state in the Ease of Doing Business rankings in the country for the last two years, but his continuous obsession in pursuit of former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s alleged sins of omission and commission has given rise to question, is Jagan Mohan Reddy failing as Chief Minister?
Hours after Jagan assumed office on 30 May, the young Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh cancelled all projects sanctioned before 1 April, 2019, by the previous Naidu government. Works on the upcoming capital of Amaravati, the dream city envisioned by Naidu, came to a grinding halt. Major infrastructure projects like the Bhogapuram International Airport, Ramayapatnam Port, Kadapa Steel Plant, Bandar Port, Amaravati Iconic Bridge, and Muktyala Lift Irrigation scheme were put in limbo as well, these decisions by the new government have unnerved the investors.
A month into government, the new chief minister appointed a Cabinet Sub-Committee to investigate alleged corruption that took place during the TDP regime. The terms of reference were wide-ranging as the sub-committee was asked to review procurement systems, tender procedures, allocation of public resources, memoranda of understanding (MOU), letters of intent, joint ventures and special purpose vehicles (SPVs).
Jagan’s subsequent actions went beyond politics and displayed a streak of personal vendetta.
Is Jagan trying to wipe out Chandrababu Naidu's legacy?
In a dramatic but telling action, a building constructed with government money called Praja Vedika or 'people's forum', was ordered by Jagan to be pulled down a day after holding his maiden Collectors' Conference at the same venue.
Praja Vedika was the annexe of the then chief minister's official residence which itself was a guest house leased out from an industrialist on the banks of the river Krishna. The new government claimed that the structure, used for official meetings, violated the norms under the River Conservancy Act, having come up within 500 metres of the river.
The annexe was brazenly knocked down by earthmovers and bulldozers in the presence of TV cameras even as the former chief minister's family, which stayed in the house next, was vacationing in Europe.
But Jagan's animosity against TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu seems to have got the better of him, which has been upsetting the business class. The concern expressed by the Japanese Ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu in a missive recently to Chief Minister Jagan reflected the growing anxiety of foreign and domestic investors at the rather short-sighted approach of the YSR Congress government.
Japanese ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu wrote to Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy against the state’s efforts to cut renewable energy tariffs by reviewing signed-and-sealed contracts. Such a move has unnerved foreign investors and damaged the business environment, the letter says. Many of these renewable energy companies are funded by overseas sovereign and pension funds. “Many foreign investors, including Japanese companies, are now watching closely the situation unfolding in your state regarding the renewable energy sector,” the Ambassador mentions in the letter.
Also the Centre, investors, industry executives and credit rating agencies have been cautioning the YSRC government against its decision to review contracts signed during the TDP regime, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy made it clear that he would not succumb to any kind of pressure. He told the cabinet sub-committee, appointed to probe the alleged irregularities in the previous government, to take a call on reverse tendering soon.
The recent moves of Jagan to undo what Naidu government did has get better of him and has also demoralised foreign investors and maligned the business environment of Andhra Pradesh. But it surely shows that his obsession towards Chandrababu Naidu is giving him a hard time to focus on his Chief Ministership.
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