The monsoon has not brought glad tidings for the state just yet. A fresh battle has now started between politicians of coastal Andhra and Telangana regions over water. The state government's decision to release water from the Nagarjunasagar reservoir to the Krishna delta to meet Kharif operations has left TRS leaders fuming. A weak monsoon led farmers in the Krishna delta to increase pressure on the government and Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy took the decision. The worry is that if there isn't sufficient rainfall in July and August, the Nagarjunasagar reservoir will reach its dead storage level. The Telangana Rashtra Samiti alleges that the government is favouring coastal Andhra while ignoring the people of Telangana. Telangana Congress leaders too have joined issue with them. The leaders of Telangana allege that this action would result in a severe drinking water problem in Hyderabad, Rangareddy, Mahabubnagar, Nalgonda districts. There was some drama as TRS partypersons obstructed officials and tried to stop release of water from the Nagarjunasagar pump house. The leaders even threatened to jump into the reservoir but were later removed from the scene. The Nagarjunasagar reservoir is located on the Guntur-Nalgonda border. Union Home Minister P Chidambaram recently announced at a press meet that the central government would take a decision on Telangana statehood soon. The contentious issue of water sharing would definitely be high on the minds of all parties. Chidambaram's statement is however being seen by many leaders in the T-region as a temporary balm to soothe feelings in the wake of the presidential election. They feel it is a tactical move by Chidambaram to prevent any cross-voting and ensure that Pranab Mukherjee is elected as President without any hassles.
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi has been taking stock of the situation in Andhra Pradesh after the bypoll defeat. Several senior leaders were granted an audience with Sonia and aired their opinions. Rajya Sabha member K Chiranjeevi who met her for 30 minutes apparently blamed the bypoll fiasco on the lack of unity among Congress workers and leaders. Other leaders who met with Sonia were DL Ravindra Reddy, N Raghuveera Reddy and JC Diwakar Reddy. Speculation that there may be a change in guard was however ruled out by Chiranjeevi and Raghuveera Reddy. Telangana leaders are hoping that Sonia will indeed lead the UPA into taking a decision on statehood soon. Leaders who were part of the Dilli durbar have said that 'Madam' gave them a patient hearing and their views would surely be taken into account.
UPA presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee's visit to Hyderabad to lobby for support had its own share of drama. He addressed a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party in the Jubilee Hall, a heritage building which is generally used for state government functions. Several senior leaders including Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, PCC president Botsa Satyanarayana, Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and ministers were present at the meeting. As soon as Pranab left the building, a fire broke out on the terrace of the building caused by a short circuit in a faulty air-conditioning plant. Panic stricken legislators ran out as plumes of smoke engulfed the building. The fire was soon controlled and as is the norm, an enquiry was ordered by the Chief Minister. One enterprising MLA P Vishnuvardhan Reddy who represents Jubilee Hills, attempted to do his bit by picking up a fire extinguisher. As his fellow legislators left the place, he tried to climb on to the terrace to fight the fire but was restrained by police personnel.
Pranab Mukherjee did not meet Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu. He, however, had a telephonic chat with YS Vijayalakshmi, YSR Congress party leader. Vijayalakshmi made it clear that she would discuss the matter with son Jaganmohan Reddy who is lodged in Chanchalguda jail and the party would come to a decision soon. Pranab also called up Lok Satta party president Jayaprakash Narayan seeking his support. An MIM party delegation called on Pranab to express their support. The MIM has been persuading Jagan to support Pranab's candidature and MP Asaduddin Owaisi even met Jagan in jail to seek his support.
Jail for Bail
More skeletons are popping out of jailed judge Pattabhi Rama Rao's cupboard of bail orders. Justice Rama Rao, it may be recollected, was suspended as a CBI court judge after investigations revealed that he granted bail to Gali Janardhan Reddy for a bribe of Rs 5 crore in the Obulapuram mining case. One of the accused, retired judge TV Chalapathi Rao, has revealed that Rama Rao had in the past granted bail to suspended police officer Sarveshwar Reddy for a bribe of Rs 10 lakh. Reddy was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau in a disproportionate assets case. Rama Rao who was then a judge in an ACB court granted the bail to Reddy after the bribe sum was negotiated by history sheeter Yadagiri Rao. Incidentally, Yadagiri also played a crucial role in the Gali bribe scandal. In an overhaul of fate and justice, Pattabhi Rama Rao spent some time being questioned in ACB custody. He has been denied special prisoner status in Chanchalguda jail while waiting for bail.
CBI Joint Director VV Lakshminarayana is in further trouble after his call data records were exposed a few days back. Following a PIL by Guntur man and YSR Congress sympathizer, Bhavanam Bhushanam, the AP High Court has sought an explanation from Lakshminaryana as to why he made several calls to mediapersons when the CBI probe against Jagan was on. Bhushanam alleges that Lakshminarayana's probe is not impartial and that he has political aspirations. He accuses Lakshminarayana of leaking selective details to the media even as the illegal assets probe against Jagan was on. Lakshminarayana will have to file his reply by July 9.