Section 8 Sidelining The Cash-For-Vote Scandal?

  • Phone-tapping did not work

  • Section 8 seems to be working

HYDERABAD: The game plan of AP Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu to divert the attention of the people from the infamous cash-for-vote scandal, involving TDP MLA Revanth Reddy and others, in a desperate move to safeguard the sinking image of his party seemed to have succeeded to some extent.

The controversy over bestowing special powers to Narasimhan, the joint governor of the two Telugu States, by invoking Section 8 enshrined in AP Reorganization Act suddenly took the centre stage by pushing the cash-for-vote scandal to the sidelines.

The focus is now more on how far the governor would go in taking the purported advice given by the Attorney General of India Mukul Rohatgi with regard to invoking Section 8 of APRA for taking over the law and order administration under his control in Hyderabad, the joint capital of the two states.

Suddenly, the political atmosphere in Hyderabad as well as in New Delhi is besieged with debates and discussions by leaders of all hues belonging to various parties, round table discussions and so on, whether the governor could invoke Section 8 or not, and whether such a move warrants in Hyderabad, where the law and order situation undoubtedly is peaceful and well under control.

Both print and electronic media, going gaga over the issue and vying with each other in giving exclusive stories and airing breaking news. The attention is now focused on the latest controversy over Section 8, while the cash-for-vote scam got pushed to the background.

While the popularity graph of TDP has dipped low after the recent MLC elections, there is no denial of the fact that the image of Naidu has taken a beating for worse following the scandal.

As the yellow brigade’s identity in Telangana State was steadily getting decimated with party legislators jumping the fence and joining TRS, the desperate Naidu had tried to rejuvenate the party image by ensuring a victory of the TDP nominee in the MLC elections.

The TDP chief tried to win the MLC seat at any cost even by wooing the MLA electorates with lucre. And TRS Chief Chandrasekhar Rao was hell bent to humiliate his bete noir Naidu by defeating the TDP nominee.

However, Naidu’s plan boomeranged with Revanth Reddy getting caught “Red Handed” while trying to offer money to nominated Anglo-Indian MLA Elvis Stephenson to vote for the TDP nominee.

The scandal has undoubtedly tarnished the image of Naidu. In a face saving attempt, he raised the alleged phone-tapping issue, and when this did not hold much water, he tried to divert the people’s attention by bringing into focus the need for invoking Section 8.

Naidu proclaimed that there was threat to the party leaders and Andhra settlers in Hyderabad. Heeven went to New Delhi and called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard. He used “Tirupati laddus” as a bait to impress upon the prime minister for invoking Section 8. He also ensured that his cabinet ministers and party leaders go all out to demand the urgent need for bringing the law and order administration under the control of the governor.

Though Naidu seemed to have succeeded in sidetracking the cash-for-vote scandal using Section 8 controversy, as of now, it is to be seen how far he would be able to stretch his luck in trying to save his neck from the chopping block. (NSS)

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