Sharmila tears into Naidu, Jagan for "compromising" Andhra's interests

APCC chief accuses N Chandrababu Naidu and her brother of putting personal ambitions and ties with the BJP ahead of the state's interests

YS Sharmila pays tribute to YS Rajasekhara Reddy ahead of filing nomination in Kadapa on 20 April (photo: PTI)
YS Sharmila pays tribute to YS Rajasekhara Reddy ahead of filing nomination in Kadapa on 20 April (photo: PTI)


Launching a scathing attack, Y S Sharmila Reddy has accused both N Chandrababu Naidu's TDP and her brother Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy-led ruling YSRCP of compromising Andhra Pradesh's interests to remain in the "good books" of the BJP at the Centre.

Daughter of late chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy and recently-appointed Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) chief, Sharmila slammed the two parties for "not fighting" for commitments made during bifurcation like special status, Polavaram project, a new capital and economic package.

"They didn't fight for special status, Polavaram project, new capital or economic package - all promised during bifurcation," Sharmila charged while campaigning for the upcoming polls."

Speaking to PTI, she accused Naidu and her brother Jagan of putting personal ambitions and ties with the BJP ahead of the state's interests.

Sharmila, who merged her YSR Telangana Party and took over as its state unit chief ahead of elections, has sought to project her party as the only force capable of safeguarding Andhra's rightful claims and fulfilling bifurcation commitments.

Her no-holds-barred attack comes as the political battle heats up in the state with all parties vying to woo voters ahead of the crucial polls on 13 May.

She claimed that had the Congress been in power post-2014 bifurcation, Andhra Pradesh would have received all promises like special status and new capital. "But 10 years on, people see what they lost by not voting Congress."

She also lashed out at chief minister Jagan for re-nominating their cousin Avinash Reddy as the YSRCP candidate from Kadapa despite a CBI probe naming him as an accused in her uncle Y S Vivekananda Reddy's murder case.

"My uncle was murdered five years ago, and the CBI has named the incumbent MP as an accused. Yet, Jagan has fielded him again. This is something the family cannot digest. So, this battle is about justice," she said.

Exuding confidence in winning from the Kadapa parliamentary segment, Sharmila said her goal is to project Congress as the only alternative to the "Andhra BJP" comprising Naidu's TDP, Jagan's YSRCP and Pawan Kalyan's Jana Sena.

However, battle lines have been drawn within the family too with Jagan accusing TDP chief Naidu of fueling Sharmila and her cousin Sunita's quest for justice. Sharmila dismissed it as "baseless rumours" stemming from Jagan's "obsession" with Naidu.

Dismissing dynasty politics criticism, Sharmila argued there is nothing wrong if a child takes up parents' profession, like a doctor's offspring.

On the Congress' prospects, she expressed hope of winning "at least in double digits" in the assembly polls but didn't hazard a guess on her Kadapa margin, saying "we'll bring back Congress' glory soon."

Stating Congress got less than 2 per cent votes in 2019, Sharmila said raising it is "a real challenge, but we'll get there."

As the sibling rivalry plays out, Sharmila admitted it is "a little sad" but "this is the reality." Her mother is "neutral" as "it is hard to choose between the right or left eye."

Sharmila hopes more women will support her cause given the "justice sentiment" involved but admitted there was a long road ahead for women's empowerment in politics.

The Congress is contesting 23 of Andhra Pradesh's 25 Lok Sabha seats while allies CPI and CPM are contesting one each as part of the India bloc. For the 175 assembly seats, Congress has fielded candidates in 157 segments with the Left contesting the rest.

Simultaneous assembly and Lok Sabha polls will be held in the state on 13 May.

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