As Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu completed a year in office, he was entangled in a cash-for-votes scam in Telangana with the emergence of a taped phone conversation in which he is purportedly heard asking a legislator to back a TDP candidate in an election. This new controversy may create a constitutional crisis as Telangana’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) is planning to summon Naidu for questioning. The tape features a self-styled phone conversation between Naidu and nominated Telangana legislator Elvys Stephenson, and suggests that the chief minister gave an “assurance of all sorts” to the MLA if he voted for a Telugu Desam Party (TDP) nominee in the Telangana legislative council election.
During the conversation, Naidu allegedly said, “Our people briefed me. I am with you, don’t bother. For everything, I am with you. What all they spoke, we will honour…For your commitment we will work together.” Media reports (the media which exposed this entire saga is owned by KCR) said the recording of the purported conversation was released to a section of the media by Telangana’s ACB, which is investigating the cash-for-votes scam.
The ACB arrested TDP legislator Revanth Reddy and two others – Sebastian Harry and Uday Simha – on May 31 for allegedly handing over Rs. 50 lakh to Stephenson a few days before the election to vote for a TDP nominee. The audio tape became public, three days after Telangana Home Minister N Narasimha Reddy said the government has proof that Naidu spoke to Stephenson and other MLAs of the TRS to lure them to vote for the TDP candidate. The Andhra Pradesh government denied that it is Naidu’s voice on the audio tape first played on T News, a Telugu news channel owned by the family of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, and later picked up by other channels.
Now, a totally flopped Congress Party in Andhra Pradesh which is sitting in opposition demands Chandrababu Naidu’s resignation. However, no investigation has revealed that the voice is of the CM. Politics is being played on the entire saga of vote for cash. Revanth Reddy, who is a puppet in the hands of Mr. Naidu, is at the receiving end. If Andhra Pradesh CM is aware about this or his son’s involvement in this saga then it is the saddest moment for Andhra Pradesh. The young generation is more interested in achieving the goal rather than practicing means. The whole episode leaves very sour feelings. On the other hand, TRS and the Congress too are a part of this game. Records will show the kind of proceedings permitted in the Assembly. If the MLA is proved guilty, he will pay the price of his offence. However, we should not go to any conclusion till the arrival of final verdict.
TRS government is indulging in cheap tricks to create differences between the people. I would like to remind them that politics and administration are different. Naidu has given them a well developed capital i.e. Hyderabad. Definitely, Hyderabad was developed because of the visionary work of him – and I think he deserves some respect. One should wonder, why so much hue and cry is raised over a “regularly happening” matters in political circles in India. No political party or politician is clean. This is not the first case where we see cash are offered for vote. There is history in chronological order since Independence of India. The power of ill-gotten wealth enables them to engage a battery of lawyers to delay and exploit every loophole in laws, to convert their trials in to a test of legal war of abrasion with no end in the never ending legal battle. The laws framed in less corrupt and most advanced countries work in catching the few that dare to indulge in corruption but that practice is not followed in India. The laws framed by our elected representatives have been designed with a lot of foresight to help and perpetuate systemic corruption with impunity- not to catch the corrupt and thus, they have the greatest faith in Judiciary as it can’t go beyond the scope of laws and convict them. Non-conviction is almost assured and it has a positive spin to boot. It will boost the status and standing of those that are tried. Acquittal at any stage is never considered as not found guilty according to the scope of laws. It takes the shape of bestowing a personality cult certificate of unparalleled moral purity and honesty at par.
If we look back, the Karnataka BJP repented for giving powers to the Reddy brothers of Bellary. The Reddy brothers of Karnataka BJP and late YSR Reddy of Congress were friends. TDP should expel Revanth Reddy from the party. Chandrababu has always tried to project himself as the only sane politician in the state, where in reality he is probably true too. TDP is in power because people of AP had to choose between Jaganmohan Reddy and Chandrababu and they probably choose the better of the two given choices. However, many political pundits accuse him of being a corrupt politician. They believe that Chandrababu Naidu became the chief minister by backstabbing NTR and is back to power by ‘fake’ promise to the people of AP everything on earth. He hasn’t delivered anything and it’s only his media management skills that have been saving him. This particular case is showing how corrupt our political system is. KCR is not a sage, as the saying goes, until caught everyone is innocent. Many even allege that Telangana CM is trying to mislead the people of Andhra Pradesh by resorting to cheap tricks; based on the complaint, a case has been registered against KCR under Sections 464, 647, 471, 166, 167 and 120/B of IPC. Similar case a couple of decades back in Karnataka, Veerappa Moily who was the then CM was facing. He taped the conversation. Chandrababu Naidu also will come out clean in future.