Wednesday, Jun 29, 2022

Hyderabad Blues

The fourth chargesheet in the Jaganmohan Reddy illegal assets case was filed as a buzz was gathering in police circles that CBI Joint Director V. V. Lakshminarayana who is spearheading the investigation has lost his zing

Accused #1
The fourth chargesheet was filed by the CBI in the Jaganmohan Reddy illegal assets case on August 13. It deals with the allotment of land and quid pro quo in the Vadarevu and Nizamapatnam port and industrial corridor project. As usual, Jagan is accused No. 1 and his financial auditor Vijay Sai Reddy is accused No. 2. Apart from jailed former minister Mopidevi Venkata Ramana, roads and buildings minister Dharmana Prasada Rao, two IAS officers Manmohan Singh and M. Samuel are among those named in the chargesheet. While CBI sources rule out any immediate arrests with regard to this chargesheet, the image of the Kiran Kumar cabinet has taken a severe beating indeed. The chargesheet was filed as a buzz was gathering in police circles that CBI Joint Director V. V. Lakshminarayana who is spearheading the investigation has lost his zing. Following a leak of his call data records on Sakshi TV, Lakshminarayana first went to South Africa. He then went to Rajasthan on some personal work and subsequently to Ahmedabad on the Sohrabuddin encounter case. He also goes to Delhi quite often. Lakshminarayna has been avoiding the media studiously and is not spotted in public these days. Sources say that the senior IPS officer is so affected by disclosure of his personal details in the media that he wants to maintain a low profile at any cost.

BC to SC
After promising 100 seats for Backward Caste candidates, Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu has extended his support to the Scheduled Caste categorisation issue. There are primarily four communities among SCs in the state: the Madigas, Malas, Rellay and Aadi Andhra. Madigas register the highest numbers among these four groups and categorisation of jobs proportionate to population would primarily benefit this group. Naidu says he will be writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh emphasizing the need to change the Constitution. The TDP chief is of the opinion that Madigas are losing out on government jobs and education because of lack of categorisation. Political observers however feel that this is a move by Naidu to woo the Madiga community, many of whom are concentrated in Telangana. Most of the Malas on the other hand are Christians who support YSR Congress president Jaganmohan Reddy. In the recent byelections to 16 Assembly seats, statistics revealed polarisation of Mala votes towards the YSR Congress. So evidently, Naidu sees an electoral gain in stating his backing for the SC categorisation issue. 

Step by Step
Jaganmohan Reddy's mother and YSR Congress' honorary president Y S Vijayalakshmi, seems to be taking the deeksha (protest fast) route to win over the hearts of people. After her deeksha in Sircilla in Telangana to highlight the plight of weavers, she picked Eluru in coastal Andhra for a two-day deeksha in support of students. Her deeksha on August 13-14 is to seek proper implementation of the fee reimbursement scheme which was started by her late husband Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy when he was chief minister. The scheme is meant to benefit poor students in pursuing higher studies. There has been talk among officials that the cash-strapped Kiran Kumar government plans to disband the scheme. Vijayalakshmi alleges that the scheme is being diluted and demands that the government release pending funds of Rs 500 crore for the scheme. Earlier, Vijayalakshmi had held a fast in Vijayawada for farmers. Step-by-step wooing of votebanks is what the YSR Congress seems to believe in.

Kissa Kursi Ka
The tussle between Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy and union petroleum minister Jaipal Reddy over gas allocation to the state might develop into something else altogether. Kiran Kumar fought tooth and nail to prevent diversion of gas in the Krishna Godavari basin to Maharashtra, the order for which was issued by Jaipal Reddy. Faced with dire power situation in the state and an opposition which was terming him weak, Kiran Kumar managed to get the centre to reverse the order. Many in the CMO say Kiran Kumar might have won the battle but has the larger issue of his gaddi to worry about. There have been constant rumours that Jaipal Reddy might replace Kiran Kumar as CM. Pending power projects in Telangana are also suddenly in focus. Politicians of all parties now allege that only Seemandhra projects are favoured while those in Telangana region are being neglected. Realising that gas plants might escalate into another regional issue, Kiran Kumar has directed energy department officials to complete solar, mini-hydel and non-conventional energy projects as soon as possible.