Politics In Business, Andhra Pradesh Style
Amaravati: United Andhra Pradesh has seen a corporate war in the name of liquor ban. The anti- liquor movement which was run with great enthusiasm, forcing other media houses to toe the line was considered a great success with the ban of liquor in the State. However, this was successful only till the rival media business man, who was in liquor business too literally come to his knees. Later, the owner of Telugu daily ‘Udayam’ Magunta Subbiramireddy who was a partner in United Breweries was killed by Maoists. Thus, the media organisation which supported and encouraged anti-liquor movement started publishing articles written by the likes of Jaya Prakash Narayan about how exchequer was in losses and how much income it needs to run the government and schemes. After a few months the ban was lifted for the sake of revenue to government and everyone forgot about the massive movement for liquor ban and its achievements.
Now, a similar situation is emerging in Andhra Pradesh. But it is not regarding liquor. Presently, it is about travel services. The Vijayawada MP Kesineni Nani is trying to replicate the strategy of media baron who encouraged anti-liquor movement.
Talk is that now, Nani is trying to malign a rival transport company, Orange Travels as it is eating into the profits of Kesineni Travels run by him. He is angry with the transport department because it is allowing the operation of Orange Travels which he alleged is indulging in malpractices. Apart from that he tried to link the travels to opposition party leader YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. He is trying to hit two birds with one shot- maligning the opposition leader and bringing Orange travels to a halt.
His war went to such an extent that he had written a letter to Arunachal Pradesh government about the registration of private buses plying in Telugu States after which it cancelled the registration of tourist coaches and sleeper coaches. Nearly 700 buses plying in the Telugu States came to a grinding halt, though they are yet to receive orders.
Kesineni Nani who took a high moral ground, after his spat with Transport Commissioner Balasubramaniam, had shut down his travel business in Telugu States. According to sources, he had kept the route permits of all his buses in suspended animation and parked them all in his parking lot here. He had told his drivers and other staff to find alternative jobs since he was quitting.
Now, the private travel owners are alleging that Nani is doing all this to take revenge against them. They are planning to approach the court once they receive the orders.
In fact, the aggrieved parties are alleging that he is a fraud and has defaulted over 9 crores service tax. The unnecessary harassment against Orange Travels and the cases against it are because of Nani’s interference.
People, who are depending heavily on private services because of various factors like easy availability of tickets, comfort etc. Once these buses stop plying people are sure to suffer.
Meanwhile, the aggrieved parties are saying that Nani would surely start plying his buses in Telugu States without any competition.