Vendetta dominates Andhra politics under Jagan’s rule

Last Updated : 03 October 2019, 20:41 IST
Last Updated : 03 October 2019, 20:41 IST
Last Updated : 03 October 2019, 20:41 IST
Last Updated : 03 October 2019, 20:41 IST

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Looking back into the five months of Y S Jaganmohan Reddy’s governance in Andhra Pradesh, one would feel that the state is seeing the replication of late Jayalalithaa’s days in Tamil Nadu when she was heading the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).

Remember the early morning tit-for-tat arrest of veteran Dravida MunnetraKazhagam (DMK) chief Karunanidhi from his home in 2001? While there was never an agreement between Jaganmohan Reddy’s father, late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief Nara Chandrababu Naidu, they shared at least a working relationship, both having started their political careers in the Congress.

“I and your father differed on many issues. But we were at least on talking terms. While I was in Congress, on one occasion, we even shared a room,” Naidu said recently, recalling his relation with Rajasekhara Reddy.

TDP claims that at least a dozen of its cadre were killed, several arrested, and houses ransacked in the state after the YSR Congress came to power in June.

The TDP published many pamphlets and two books alleging violent attacks on its cadre in the past five months and drew the attention of the public towards them.

In fact, the first decision of the government was to demolish a state government structure, “Praja Vedika” (People’s Forum), located close to Naidu’s riverfront rented accommodation in Undavalli.

Jaganmohan Reddy, who addressed the last meeting in that very convention hall, ordered its demolition the very next day, saying that it was built illegally during the five-year tenure of Naidu.

The demolition came even after Naidu, in a letter, urged the government to allocate the hall to him, so that he can meet his visitors and party workers there.

The new chief minister’s policies of 75% reservation for the local youth in private industries and the introduction of reservation for the Backward Classes (BC), SC, ST and women in the allotment of government-nominated posts failed to generate interest among the public.

The new government’s obsession with destroying Naidu’s legacy did not stop there. It spread to a whole gamut of areas such as the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), Polavaram project and making Amaravati the capital city.

Jagan decided to review the PPAs that Naidu’s government had entered into in the non-conventional energy category. He went ahead with the review despite three letters from the Centre asking him to restrain from it, as it would “affect investor’s confidence”.

Jagan argued that the state government would lose Rs 5,000 crore every year if the present PPAs continued to operate.

The government has decided to discontinue the present contractor for the Polavaram project, Navayuga, blaming that the company’s quote was exorbitant.

Opting for “reverse tendering”, the government called for fresh tenders but allowed Navayuga to compete again. Finally, the tender was awarded to Megha, a Hyderabad-based company.

The government has continued exerting pressure on the 70-year-old leader, giving him sleepless nights, by repeatedly slapping notices that caution about the demolition of Naidu’s riverfront home.

In fact, the bungalow is owned by one Lingamaneni Ramesh, who owned Air Costa Airlines. Ramesh has been saying that he took permission from the Gram Panchayat as there was no Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) at that time.

The sword of demolition still hangs over Naidu’s head.

“The Mangalagiri MLA and a few YSRCP ministers have spent time near Naidu’s residence taking pictures of the area with the help of drones while the floodwaters are gathering at the Prakasam barrage. Their enthusiasm to sink Naidu’s home was so much that they finally sunk the houses of poor people on either side of the river,” Devineni Umamaheswara Rao, former irrigation minister said.

Ghost town

When Jagan was touring the USA, state Municipal Minister Botsa Satyanarayana declared Naidu’s dream project Amaravati as flood-prone and non-viable.

The chief minister, without uttering a single word on the issue, saw to it that the ministers created enough confusion over the continuation of the project.

There was speculation that the high court will be moved to Kurnool and the land pooled by the farmers will be returned. As a result, the real estate business in Amaravati has collapsed.

The Jagan government drew flak by putting Naidu under house arrest after he gave a call to Chalo Atmakur march aimed at resettling the TDP cadres who were allegedly driven out of their villages in Palnadu. Restrictions were imposed in Atmakur village and no one was allowed to enter it.

Naidu was not allowed to move out of his Undavallli home for a day. However, the administration finally accompanied the oustees who were staying in a shelter in Guntur to their homes under police protection.

The age-old divide between Kamma and Reddy communities has only widened. The suicide of former speaker Kodela Siva Prasada Rao who was allegedly targeted by the YSRCP government by slapping 19 cases, including a case on the theft of Assembly furniture, was the peak of the caste divide in the state.

In fact, the shelving of Amaravati, a stronghold of Kammas, cancellation of Polavaram and Machilipatnam Port contracts signed with Navayuga, a group owned by a Kamma, cases against Naidu, Devineni Umamaheswara Rao, Devineni Vamsee, Nannapaneni Raja Kumari and Chintamaneni Prabhakar — all of them being Kamma TDP leaders, has only vitiated the political atmosphere in the state.

Published 03 October 2019, 20:41 IST

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