Alarm bells began ringing in the Telugu Desam as its MLA Kodali Sri Venkateswara Rao a.k.a Nani defected to the YSR Congress camp and visited Jaganmohan Reddy in Chanchalguda jail. The TDP leadership tried to put up a brave front and said Nani had fallen prey to a Rs 30 crore reward offered by Jagan. Nani is an MLA in Krishna district and Jagan is trying to make steady inroads into this traditionally strong TD bastion. Nani was given a ticket from Gudivada constituency on the insistence of actor NTR Jr, Chandrababu Naidu's nephew. After Nani's trip to Chanchalguda jail, NTR Jr promptly called a press conference to deny that he had anything to do with Nani leaving the Telugu Desam. The 28-year-old actor sought to clarify that he had no issues with his maavaiyya (Uncle Chandrababu) and that he would continue to be with the Telugu Desam till his last breath. “This statement of mine can be used as a once- and-for-all answer to all those who doubt my support,” NTR Jr asserted. Relations between Naidu and NTR Jr’s father Harikrishna have been strained for quite some time. Whispers in the party say that it was NTR Jr who might be the behind Nani’s departure as this was his way of getting even with Naidu who was not giving his nephew due importance. “These are things which I’ve always heard and never said myself. I am newly married and am just 28. I am too young to plunge into politics and I have never harboured illusions that I will be the leader of the Telugu Desam,” NTR Jr said in the hastily called press meet. However, the more NTR Jr denied the rumours, the stronger they became. NTR Jr bears a strong resemblance to his grandfather, the late NT Rama Rao and some quarters of the TDP feel he should play a larger role in the party. It is said that Nani left in a huff as Naidu was planning to field his brother-in-law Balakrishna from Gudivada constituency in the coming elections. Naidu’s son Lokesh is married to Balakrishna’s daughter Brahmani. The TD leadership is now worried that emboldened by Nani’s move; more cat-on-the-wall MLAs or MPs might shift loyalties to Jagan.
Who Owns YSR's Legacy?
Y S Rajasekhar Reddy’s anniversary on July 8 was celebrated in a quiet manner by the Congress. Party members are undecided about how to deal with the YSR legacy issue, thanks to the CBI probe against Jagan. Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, PCC chief Botsa Satyanarayana and some ministers garlanded his statue and portrait but that was it. There were no speeches to mark the anniversary. The Chief Minister rushed back to the camp office almost immediately. In 2010, then chief minister K Rosaiah had celebrated YSR’s birth anniversary on a large scale. This tapered out in 2011 once Jagan quit the Congress and claimed YSR’s legacy as his own. In the YSR Congress camp too, there were no major programmes except for a blood donation camp in the party office. With Jagan behind bars and bail not in near sight, his mother Vijayalakshmi is said to be in a sombre mood. Both Vijayalakshmi and daughter Sharmila spent the day in YSR’s Kadapa district. Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate will be quizzing Jagan in jail for a few days even as the Kadapa MP has knocked the doors of the Supreme Court for bail.
Among the People
Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy seems to have realized that best way to reach out to people is to be among them. He will soon be embarking on visits to all districts and spend three days in a week in each district. Apart from taking stock of administrative matters, progress in projects, party affairs, the CM will reserve one day for interactions with people. He would spend a night in either a hostel or a school or any government building. While officials are still working out the details, they are excited that this may help build Kiran Kumar’s image among the masses.
P C Rao, who worked as law secretary under the late P V Narasimha Rao and is now a judge in the UN’s International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (Germany) is an unhappy man. The judge, who lives in the Lotus Pond area of the city, has a new neighbour, Y S Jaganmohan Reddy. “I was one of the first to buy a plot and construct my house in this area in 1998. At the time, it was a quiet area,” says Rao. Not anymore, considering the fact that Jagan’s recently constructed palatial residence also doubles up as a party office and a house for sister Sharmila. The political buzz around the area and the number of vehicles parked on the road is not something the senior judge is able to handle. So he’s moving on, to a new flat in Filmnagar. He’s keeping his fingers crossed that no other leading politician swoops in there too.
Waiting for Rain
Is Andhra Pradesh staring at a drought year? There has been inadequate rainfall across the state so far and water in all reservoirs, namely Nagarjunasagar and Srisailam has reached dead storage level. The acreage for the Kharif season which was supposed to be 22 lakh hectares has come down to 17.5 lakh hectares due to poor rainfall and farmers are a worried lot. If there isn’t sufficient rainfall before July 15, the situation will be pretty serious, warn agriculture officials.