KADAPA : A group of Muslims, around 10 of them including some women, were offering prayers at the famous Ameen Peer Dargah here in the morning. A few yards away from them was another group seeking the blessings of the clerics in the dargah to rid themselves of evil influences and they were all Hindus.
There was yet another group of Muslims volunteering to help the devotees at the dargah and they all wore saffron caps! The dargah exemplifies the Hindu- Muslim harmony and peaceful co-existence the city of Kadapa is known for.
The two communities, interestingly, seem to show the same kind of unity when it comes to supporting the family of the son of the soil, the late chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy, which amply reflects in the discussions among some youths not very far from the dargah.
“I am a die hard fan of YS Rajasekhara Reddy.
I will extend my full support to Jagan Mohan Reddy,” said Mohammad Bilal, a cloth merchant, who exclusively sells Sherwanis on Ameer Peer Road. Bilal has a reason for this: “Rajasekhara Reddy had developed not only Kadapa but the entire State. I am confident that the young Reddy too, like his father, will develop the state,” Bilal declared.
Muslims, who have a sizable presence in Rayalaseema and are the deciding factor in the elections, have stood by YSR’s family so far and ensured their victory in all the elections. But with Jagan quitting the Congress now, the million dollar question is: Will they still support Jagan, even if he forged an alliance with the BJP? “Whether Jagan is going to have an alliance with the BJP is not yet clear. And it does not matter for us, as long as Jagan remains independent.
Muslims will vote for Jagan’s party, even if he strikes an alliance with the BJP,” felt another youth Ahmed.
“Muslims will give a thought to it only when the issue arises,” was how Bilal reacted initially but hastened to add, “Muslims will support Jagan irrespective of his seat-sharing with the BJP.” “There is a BJP government in the neighbouring Karnataka too,” he said indicating that Muslims were not totally against the BJP.
On the other hand, the Reddy community in the district seems to be eager to own the party even before Jagan has launched it. “Jagan should announce the party soon and take revenge against Sonia Gandhi,” Ramakrishna Reddy, a youth, reacted angrily.
“The Congress in the state owes its existence to YSR. But the party has ditched the family of such a great leader,” lamented Meegada Ramachandra Reddy. “Why should Jagan continue in the party which has no love lost for YSR’s family? Entire Seema will support Jagan,” a confident Ramachandra argued. Many Reddys are hopeful that Jagan will become the chief minister.
But Kondaiah, a cobbler, gave a different version.
“By winning some seats Jagan cannot hope to become the chief minister. TRS chief Chandrasekhar Rao is an example for this.
People are vexed with the squabbles in the Congress.
There is no governance and no public representative is concerned about the plight of the SCs. I think the split in the Congress vote will help Naidu become the chief minister,” Kondaiah analysed.
Some feel that Jagan should change his stand on Telangana to realise his chief ministerial aspirations. “Jagan will get full support in Rayalaseema and Andhra. But he should soften his stand on Telangana, then only he will become the chief minister,” remarked Vijayakumar Reddy.
Jagan taking the United AP stand was a hasty decision, said Balaji Reddy, an unemployed youth.
However, some hardcore fans of Jagan are hopeful that he would issue a fresh statement on Telangana before launching his new party.
“There are a large number of followers for both YSR and Jagan in Telangana. I am sure Jagan will take a suitable stand on Telangana,” Ramachandra Reddy said.
Asked whether Jagan would cause a dent in the traditional vote bank of the TDP in Rayalaseema, P Mohan Reddy, a part-time employee, said: “It is too early to come to such a conclusion.
You will see Jagan’s force once he launches his party. Jagan should name the new party as YSR Congress.”