New Delhi:

TDP leader and Chandrababu Naidu’s son Nara Lokesh today said that the party’s focus will be creating jobs and uplifting the marginalised in Andhra Pradesh. The party won 16 Lok Sabha seats in Andhra Pradesh and was instrumental in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) winning the elections.

Mr Lokesh said that they would continue the reservation provided to Muslims in the state, a policy that their alliance partner BJP staunchly opposes.

“It (reservation for Muslims) has been going around for the last 2 decades and we stand by it. We intend to continue it,” Mr Lokesh said in an exclusive interview with NDTV.

The 41-year-old said that the reservation wasn’t for appeasement, but social justice as the minorities in the state have the lowest per capita income.

“It’s a fact that the minorities continue to suffer and that they have the lowest per capita income. As a government, it is my responsibility to bring them out of poverty. So whatever decisions I take are not for appeasement, but to bring them out of poverty,” he said.

“If you want to make our nation a developed nation, we cannot leave anyone behind. We should do it together and there is a great opportunity to do it. It has been the trademark of the TDP, to take everyone together,” Mr Lokesh added.

Nara Lokesh played a key role in the party’s stellar performance in the Lok Sabha as well as assembly polls in Andhra Pradesh. After the arrest of Chandrababu Naidu, Mr Lokesh took over the reins of the TDP and undertook a 4,000-kilometre ‘padayatra’ to reach the masses.

Speaking about Mr Naidu’s arrest, the TDP leader said that it was vendetta politics and his father was wrongfully jailed for 52 days.

“We are victims of vendetta politics. The rule of law should be implemented equally for everyone. No place for vendetta politics in India,” he said.  

The leader also dismissed reports that the TDP is seeking the speaker’s post and some key portfolios in the new cabinet led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which will be sworn in on Sunday.

“TDP never negotiates when it comes for post, we only negotiate for funds for the state. We don’t ask for ministries. Our interest is the state’s interest,” Mr Lokesh told NDTV.

“Strong states make strong nations. We want to be part of a 5 trillion dollar economy dream.  We believe that Andhra alone can be a 1 trillion economy. Look forward to working with NDA,” he added.