Would Naidu, Jagan Continue To Spar Even In New Assembly Premises At Amaravati?

Hyderabad: Passing a resolution by Andhra Pradesh Cabinet condemning the attitude of Opposition leader YS Jagan Mohan Reddy at Nandigam hospital recently is ridiculous if not outright madness. The Cabinet should have passed a resolution, if any, expressing shock and sorrow at the death of ten passengers who were travelling by the ill-fated private bus from Bhubaneswar to Hyderabad when it met with an accident at Penaganchiprolu village in Krishna district in the early hours of Tuesday. It should have also resolved to book a criminal case against the owners of the bus, ‘Diwakar Travels.’ It could also have resolved to appoint a Committee to suggest ways and means to prevent such ghastly accident in future. The Cabinet presided over by Nara Chandrababu Naidu did not do what it should have done. It did what it could have avoided.

The politics of one-upmanship ruling roost in the residual State of AP has made things bitter with both ruling party and the opposition leaving no opportunity to malign each other. The bus accident occurred hardly 45 minutes drive from the capital. The Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has at his beck and call a helicopter. There is helipad at nearby Nandigama. He could have gone to the spot and consoled the relatives of the dead and the injured. He could have monitored the rescue operations. But he chose to stay put in Vijayawada. His Cabinet colleagues too did not bother to go to the accident site. On the other hand the V Opposition leader had set out from his residence in Hyderabad the moment he heard of the mishap and travelled more than 250 kms to reach the spot. He inspected the accident site and went to Nandigama where the dead bodies of the passengers who were killed were lying and the injured were undergoing treatment. He found to his utter shock that the dead bodies were bundled and being dispatched. He walked into the hospital and found four bodies wrapped in clothes. On one of the bundles there was a tag with the driver’s name, Adinarayana. He was told that the bus was travelling at a breakneck speed touching 130 kms. The bus jumped up by more than ten feet before plunging into the canal on the side of the road. Jagan Mohan Reddy asked the doctor at the hospital if post-mortem was done on the bodies before they were bundled for dispatch. The doctor was ambiguous in his response saying that all the post-mortem operations were completed. On demanding to come out with truth, the doctor said post-mortem is yet to be done on the driver’s body. The Opposition leader was upset. He asked how can one establish whether the driver was drunk at the time of the accident if the post-mortem was not done. He snatched away some papers from the hands of the doctor. The physician was looking at district collector Babu who was at Jagan’s back angrily signalling to the doctor not to answer questions or part with the papers. Then Jagan Mohan Reddy turned back and asked the collector if they are hiding facts in order to help the owner of the private travels, Diwakar Reddy, who happens to be an MP belonging to the ruling TDP. The collector denied the charge flatly. The Opposition leader was aggressive and told the collector that if he violated law he would land at central jail. There were some heated arguments in the presence of media. Jagan Mohan Reddy said the driver’s body could have been dispatched without post-mortem had he not gone there in time and questioned the collector and the doctor. Even now there is no guarantee that the post-mortem report would not be manipulated.

A section of the media had started showing the opposition leader in poor light telecasting the visuals of confrontation repeatedly and commenting that Jagan Mohan Reddy used intemperate language against the district cloiector. The IAS officers’ association gave a statement castigating the Opposition leader. CM Naidu himself spoke to the media berating the Opposition leader for politicising an unfortunate accident. He spoke of YS Rajasekhara Reddy, father of Jagan Mohan Reddy, and said the elder Reddy was far better than the younger in language and body language. Naidu said he never came across such an opposition leader in his long political life. The friendly media had shown a number of times a lengthy and cantankerous interview by TDP leader Chandramohan Reddy who indulged in character assassination once again. Sakshi TV and Sakshi newspaper, owned by Jagan Mohan Reddy tried to recall incident involving Naidu when he was Opposition leader threatening to beat up officials and scolding them for dereliction of duty. Occasions when Naidu was furious with IAS and IPS officers calling them stupid. No officers association had protested at that time. No other media house attempted to recall such unsavoury instances,showing Naidu in confrontation with top officials, to put things in a proper perspective.

The relationship between the ruling party and the Opposition has never been good with the ministers and TDP MLAs trying to provoke the young Opposition leader into shouting angrily and staging walkout. A vocal MLA from Opposition benches, RK Roja, representing Nagari constituency in Chittor district, was suspended for a period of one year which was completed a few days ago. When she got down at Gannavaram airport recently to participate in the Women parliamentarians Meet for which she was invited by Speaker Dr Kodela Sivaprasad, she was taken into custody by the police who drove her all the way to Hyderabad. Adding insult to the injury, Roja was intimidated with nasty slogans and ugly demonstration by the TDP workers when she was going to Gannavaram court on Friday to file a complaint against the maltreatment meted out to her.

Moreover, no Opposition leader was seen at a function on Friday when Chief Minister Naidu declared the Assembly building complex open. Both Naidu and Finance and Legislative Affairs Minister Yenamala Ramakrishnudu claimed to have sent invitations while the Opposition YSRCP leaders said they did not receive even an SMS leave alone a formal invite. The CM could have telephoned to the Opposition leader inviting him to the important function. The Speaker also could have spoken to the leader of Opposition. But there was no attempt to be amicable and friendly. No thought of burying the hatchet. The attitude is confrontationist at the slightest provocation. Any small mistake committed by Jagan Mohan Reddy, the CM, Ministers, MLAs and friendly news channels and newspapers, beside a very extensive social media, would pounce on him creating a ruckus. It is quite apparent that both the ruling party and the Opposition are keen on continuing with the ‘Tu Tu Mai Mai’ confrontation trying to pull each other’s leg and making mountains out of molehills as was the case with the recent bus accident. No constraint in language or action is followed and no opportunity is lost to attack each other. There is no light hearted humour, no goodwill, no feeling that all of them are expected to play the given roles and ultimately do good to the people. There is no attempt at reconciliation. The mindset is that of unending antagonism and continuous unpleasantness. People are vexed with this ugly atmosphere. They are dying to see both the ruling party and the Opposition to work in tandem for the development of the State and for the welfare of the people. They hope that the acrimony and the undemocratic temperament that was witnessed in the last sessions of the Assembly would end and a new constructive atmosphere would prevail at least in the new premises at Amaravati since the Budget Session is going to begin on Monday, 6 March 2017.

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