Understanding Rosaiah’s vision, YSR’s legacy on Telangana మే 16, 2010Posted by Telangana Utsav in agitation, Andhrapreneurship, Congress, Economy, elections, Identity, Interview, politics, regionalism, Sonia, Telangana, universities, Y S Jagan, YSR.
Tags: Odaarpu, Rosaiah, Rosaiah Committee
No quarrel with anyone: Rosaiah
New Indian Express, 15 May 2010
He never aspired to be the Number One but destiny propelled him to the Chief Minister’s post following the demise of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy last September. But it has not been a bed of roses for the grand old man of Andhra politics. Natural disasters, financial crises, the violent Telangana agitation and, on top of all this, frequent criticism by his own partymen – recalcitrant ministers emboldened by Kadapa MP Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, who sees himself as the natural heir to the throne — have all beset him but not cowed him.
Do you think the Congress high command should have done more to signal its support to you to deter your critics within the party?
No. Actually, the central leadership has been extending its full support to me right from the beginning. I am happy with the advice being given by them in running the government.
Is the Cabinet being held to ransom by ministers loyal to Y S Rajasekhara Reddy?
I too was a member of the YSR Cabinet. Some of the ministers have affection for YSR’s family. There is nothing wrong with that. I too have great respect for Rajasekhara Reddy and his family, and I cherish my association with him. But the point is that some ministers are not able to reply to attacks on the government from some quarters which have been appearing in the press and I felt annoyed. I told my colleagues that we have to work as a team. When there is public criticism of the functioning of the government, they have to give an effective reply in the media and through it to the people of the state. I am saying this because running a government is not an individual affair and whatever is done is the collective decision of the Cabinet. This is my sincere feeling and my advice to colleagues also. Barring that, I don’t have differences with any minister and all of them are with me.
What has been the impact of the Telangana agitation on the work of the government?
I have been saying right from the beginning, both publicly and privately, that this is an issue to be resolved by the government of India. They are at it. They have appointed a committee. Let us leave the issue to them and accept the final decision taken by Delhi. In the meantime, let us not waste our time and concentrate on implementation of development/welfare programmes. This is the way I expect the government to function.
How do you react to a newspaper belonging to a Congress MP being stridently critical of your government, at times more than the Opposition itself ?
It is true. The argument from their side is that they are only trying to highlight the defects in our functioning to enable the government to correct its flaws. Of course, that’s their opinion. I do not want to pick up a row with that particular newspaper or TV channel. But in the given circumstances, we are doing what is possible. Also, some of these decisions were taken by the government headed by Rajasekhara Reddy. As the finance minister then, I had a different view and I used to express it to him. But once the Cabinet took a decision overruling my suggestion, it was binding on me. I can’t go out and say I did not agree with the proposal. I am never one to speak like that. I have worked under several chief ministers and my style of functioning has always been like that. I never speak to the media about my personal feelings on any collective decision taken by the government. If some people don’t agree with my idea, what can we do?
How was YSR able to generate funds for various schemes but you are now finding it difficult to run the same?
It is not like that. I don’t want to go into the details as to how we did it in the past. Fortunately, those years were good. The government received the quantum of revenues that were expected. My government’s intenton is to carry on with all the welfare programmes taken up by the YSR regime. We are not trying to scuttle them. But when we look at certain practical things, there are problems. For instance, three IIITs were started at one go. The estimate on that day was that each IIIT would cost Rs 1,200 crore. The cost factor apart, the intake was expected to be 2,000 every year on each campus. It is a six-year course. That means 12,000 students have to be accommodated on each campus. To my knowledge, no such campus exists anywhere. It was an ambitious programme. YSR was a very kindhearted man and wanted to provide an opportunity to rural students to go for higher studies. But he did not look at the practical difficulty. Today, we are short of accommodation and there is no faculty. Construction of buildings is yet to be completed. The managements felt it is difficult to run the institutes and I asked a Cabinet subcommittee to look into it. They came up with a proposal to restrict the intake to 1,000 for this year. I also spoke to the professors who had mooted this idea with the late CM. They too felt that it was a difficult programme although their intention was pious. Now there is no other go. Because without accommodation, you can’t take in more numbers as there are already 4,000 students on each campus (it is two years since the IIITs were launched).
Have you identified other schemes where some corrective measures are required?
No. Not so far. There are some practical problems. It is not just money alone. But we have not taken any decision. If some justifiable changes are required, we will do the same after thorough consultations in the Cabinet but our basic intention is to continue all the programmes/schemes. After all, the intention of the government, whether during the YSR period or now, is to see that the benefits reach the target groups. There should be no leakage. But YSR’s son says you are virtually killing each and every scheme launched by his father. I do not want to say anything.
If you are not in a position to implement all the programmes because of the drain on the exchequer, why are you not looking at winding up some of them and implement the rest efficiently?
I have made myself very clear. I am not so ambitious as to take up new programmes and brand myself as the initiator for X,Y Z schemes. My endeavour is to see that the schemes already taken up are implemented. Where it is necessary to correct the method of implementation, we have to thoroughly look into it and take steps.
So you accept the fact that quite a few programmes require correction?
Yes. There is a need but that also has to be studied very deeply.
You keep saying you will follow YSR’s vision. Why not give the state Rosaiah’s vision?
YSR was our chief minister for five years and his vision was the Congress vision, as a matter of fact. I have been openly saying that our brand is the Congress brand. YSR also took up all these programmes as a representative of the Congress. I am not interested in having my own mark. My mark is the Congress mark.
What did you discuss with Jagan Mohan Reddy when he met you before his Odarpu yatra?
He met me and said he wanted to go on this yatra. I said OK and told him if there was anything to be done by the government, I shall do it. I instructed the police to take care of his security. He said he wanted to console the families of those who died after learning of YSR’s demise. That’s all. I did not ask him for any other detail.
But did the yatra go on the lines that he told you it would?
I do not want to make any comment.
Do you see the need for Sonia Gandhi and other central leaders to visit the state and convey to one and all in the party and that they are firmly backing you?
No, I don’t think it is necessary. It is only with their blessings the state government is functioning here. If there is any need for us to seek their advice, we always look to them.
As leader of the government have you been tough enough to establish your leadership credentials?
Toughness or smoothness don’t come to a person overnight. I am in my 77th year. My functioning will not change at this age. Right from the beginning, I have been moderate. I don’t want to pick up a row with any individual, group or a party. Though I was a bitter critic of the Opposition parties, I have always said they are not my enemies. We differ on certain issues. That’s all. There is no personal rivalry. When that is my attitude towards Opposition parties, where is the question of my quarrelling with my own partymen?
How do you respond to the criticism that Andhra Pradesh is now not being looked as an investment destination?
That is a wrong impression. If you look into the details, investments are coming. Secondly, nobody is feeling insecure in the state. Yes, because of the agitations we have witnessed some months ago, there was a sort of wait and see approach. Everything is alright now. There is no fear in the minds of investors any longer.
Are you happy with the kind of financial assistance being given by Centre to the state, particularly when it is cash-strapped?
Yes. They have got certain norms. As someone who has been the finance minister for many years, I cannot expect them to deviate from norms that govern Centre-State relations. They are trying to help us to the extent possible. We have been asking for national project status for the Polavaram and Pranahita-Chevella projects. In respect of Polavaram, almost all clearances have been obtained.
They have called for certain information before the issue is placed before the Union Cabinet. We have furnished the same