It was a role reversal for Telugu Desam Party president N Chandrababu Naidu and YSR Congress party president Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, as they entered the Andhra Pradesh state legislative assembly on Wednesday, when the first session after the assembly elections commenced.
While Jagan entered the assembly from the right side of the podium in the capacity of the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh and sat in the lone chair allotted to the leader of the House, Naidu entered the House from the Left side and sat in the leader of the opposition side alongside of his party MLA K Atchen Naidu.
Jagan took oath as an MLA and leader of the House amidst thunderous applause from the treasury benches. He was all smiles and looked proud, as he took the oath.
He shook hands with the pro-tem speaker Sambangi Venkata Chinna Appala Naidu and greeted all others with folded hands. He didn’t even look at Naidu.
On the other hand, Naidu looked dejected for a moment, as he took oath just as an MLA. He was very serious as he took the pledge and signed the register. He just gave an embarrassing smile as he shook hands with pro-tem speaker.
In fact, Jagan entered the assembly premises after a long gap of 19 months.
Before commencing his padayatra in November 2017, Jagan announced boycott of the state assembly sessions in protest against Naidu and then Speaker Kodela Sivaprasada Rao encouraging defections.
For Jagan, occupying the chief minister’s chair is new, but for Naidu, sitting in the opposition benches is not. He was the leader of the opposition twice in 2004 and 2009.
Even in 1989, when the TDP lost power to the Congress, Naidu sat in the opposition, when his father-in-law N T Rama Rao was the leader of the opposition.
Yet, Naidu looked terribly upset as he was sitting in the opposition benches. But he is an experienced leader and can come to terms with the reality within no time.
On Tuesday, he tried to give moral support to his party MLAs stating that the efficiency of a leader will be known only when he is in the opposition.