The YSR Congress & Telugu Desam Party machinery is in full swing as accusations are hurled with conjecture over imminent arrests
An innocuous comment posted on Twitter by movie producer and YSR Congress leader Prasad V Potluri, or PVP as he is better known, added a hilarious twist to the ongoing debate on who will go to jail first in Andhra Pradesh, chief minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy or Opposition leader N Chandrababu Naidu.
The tweet about having a woman as the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, since deleted, is a wish of a forward-looking PVP. It was posted on February 19, as a quick reaction to the Supreme Court ruling that women officers also are eligible for permanent commission.
Hailing the Supreme Court judgement, PVP, who contested and lost as a YSRC candidate in the 2019 Lok Sabha election from Vijayawada, had only wished that Telugu people would fulfil his wish to see a woman as chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. All hell broke loose. Why should he wish for a woman chief minister when Jagan is holding office? The opposition Telugu Desam Party circles have a different interpretation.
The tweet was immediately picked by the pro-TDP social media army and made viral as it vindicated the whispers in the state.
According to the whisper campaign, very soon Jagan is bound to get a conviction in CBI court in the Disproportionate Assets cases, and like Lalu Prasad Yadav would appoint his wife YS Bharati as the chief minister. She is being trained to handle the state administration, they claim.
PVP, they said, had prior knowledge of what would be happening in the state soon and expressed it through his tweet.
Oneindia ran a story on the tweet. And the tweet has been used by TDP circles to counter a campaign YSRC unleashed against Chandrababu Naidu following a press note issued by the Income Tax commissioner’s signature.
On February 13, the Central Board of Direct Taxes released a late night press note on the raids the IT department had conducted a week ago on 40 premises in Hyderabad, Vizag, Kadapa, Delhi, Pune, Goa and Vijayawada. The note indicated a connection between a “prominent person” and the targets of IT raids, without naming anybody.
Stating that the raids yielded unaccounted money to a whopping sum of Rs 2000 crore, the press note said, “search operation was also carried out on close associates including ex-personal secretary of a prominent person and incriminating evidence seized.”
It needs no great political knowledge to identify who the press note was pointing fingers at. Could it be anybody other than former chief minister Chandrababu Naidu since his ex-personal secretary Pendyala Srinivasa Rao’s houses were also raided?
The note has acquired unusual political significance, having come barely 24 hours after Jagan had a 100-minute long meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
The note has provided much-awaited ammunition to the YSR Congress, which has been unable to present an iota of evidence on Naidu's alleged corruption in the past nine months. And in fact the TDP has been heckling Jagan for failing to show up with any clinching evidence against insider trading in Amaravati and corruption in the capital building. The press note appeared as if to strengthen YSRC hands in silencing the TDP leadership.
Armed with the IT press note the YSRC has launched an all-round assault on TDP supremo. All ministers, MPs, and MLAs, from all corners of the state, have started demanding the arrest of Naidu and a probe by the CBI. YSRC says the alleged Rs 2000 fraud was only the tip of the iceberg and a thorough investigation would reveal a much bigger scandal.
The TDP in turn released the Panchanama report of IT raids in the house of Srinivas Rao, stating that the department had in fact seized only Rs 2.63 lakh in cash and 120 grams of gold and not Rs 2000 crore as claimed.
This report debunks the claims and allegations that over Rs 2000 crore are seized by IT Department from Srinivas' home.
Giving the impression that legal noose is tightening around Naidu’s neck, the ACB court has admitted a petition filed by the late NT Rama Rao’s widow Lakshmi Parvati, seeking an investigation into the disproportionate assets of Naidu. Chandrababu Naidu is NTR’s and Lakshmi Parvati’s son-in-law. Amid this din, state government has scaled down the security of Chandrababu Naidu.
YSRC has succeeded in creating the impression that Naidu would be implicated soon in DA cases and arrested. YSRC is anxiously waiting for a day to call Naidu and his son accused number 1 and 2 in retaliation to TDP’s ridicule of Jagan as A1.
Last week finally, Jagan had an audience with PM Modi and home minister Amit Shah, after two failed attempts. TDP accused Jagan of striking a deal with the BJP to bail himself out of the DA cases and a possible conviction. According to TDP leaders, Jagan had offered a Rajya Sabha seat to BJP as quid pro quo.
Observers say Jagan is ready to go to any extent to please the centre in order to get Naidu booked in IT or ED cases and his sole objective is to ensure Naidu’s arrest.
YSR Congress spokespersons demand an explanation from Naidu on why he was silent on the IT raids on his former PS’ house which yielded Rs 2000 crore unaccounted money.
Today Sakshi daily, owned by Jagan, wrote that the IT department found evidence of a transfer of Rs 400 crore to Congress Rajya Sabha MP Ahmad Patel.
On February 19, Naidu launched Praja Chaitanya Yatra, a bus yatra, ostensibly to expose what TDP calls Jaganmohan Reddy’s nine-month-long misrule.
The yatra that started off from a village in Prakasam district was a huge hit. YSRC alleges the yatra was only to divert the public’s attention from the IT raids and the unaccounted money found at his ex-PS’ residence.
Ask anybody in TDP, they would say Jagan was desperate to become friends with NDA so that the CBI trial could be postponed endlessly and he could avoid ignominy of conviction. And YSRC leaders want us to believe that Naidu’s arrest is just around the corner.