Kommineni Srinivasa Rao

There is a special place for a Speaker in a democratic set-up, who has his own individuality. Once a person is appointed as the Speaker, he transcends political affiliation. Earlier when Neelam Sanjeev Reddy was appointed as Speaker, he quit the political party and set an example for all others to emulate. Similarly, Ayyadevara Kaleswara Rao Pantulu questioned whether the Speaker could be a part of political campaign. Then we have BV Subba Reddy who quit his Speaker's post since the ruling government did not fulfill the promises it had made. We also cannot forget Speaker Narayana Rao who withstood the pressure of the powerful NTR. Mind you all these were from Andhra Pradesh and none of them showed favour to their political parties.

Unfortunately, those ethics and values have become extinct. Today, the Speaker himself is participating in party meetings and functions. Kodela Siva Prasad Rao is already accused of being partisan, and he has now leaped a step ahead. It was surprising to see Kodela speaking on television at a party event where he was openly criticising YSR Congress Party and its President YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. This amounts to blasphemy in the lexicon of politics, when it comes to the functioning of a speaker. After reading his statements in Nava Nirmana Deeksha, I was forced to comment on it.

Kodela had said that he was also fighting for the cause of the state as a common man and not as a Speaker. It was not important if he did not praise AP CM N Chandrababu Naidu in the meeting, but unnecessarily he criticised YS Jagan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Kodela said that the power of Telugu people was seen when NTR was dethroned, and that similar treatment would be meted to PM. But he did not realise that he along with Chandrababu and many others were instrumental in bringing down NTR's government. Had he mentioned about that, it would perhaps have been much better!

Kodela also said that while the ruling party was fighting against the Centre, the opposition was striking a compromise because of the legal cases. Already everyone has heard about this false propaganda from Chandrababu and many TDP leaders, and now it was the turn of Kodela also to utter these lies.

In that case why did Chandrababu compromise with BJP for the last four years? Kodela should also explain why he compromised when the TDP bought 23 YSRCP MLAs and even offered ministries to four of them. The Speaker is supposed to protect the sanctity of the constitutional body, but unfortunately he didn't. He did not disqualify the turncoat MLAs and in fact has been party to all these activities. In protest against the atrocities of Chandrababu and Kodela as well as making a mockery of the Constitution, the opposition boycotted the assembly. Will this at least make them accountable? Isn't Kodela aware of the numerous times that Chandrababu changed his stance on Special Category Status (SCS)?

Kodela might be a TDP leader, but constitution places the Speaker above all these and it is their responsibility to safeguard the sanctity of the position. Even the recent Speakers like Suresh Reddy and Nadendla Manohar never misused the office nor participated in political campaigns. For that matter Telangana Speaker Madhusudhana Chary was also living up to the dignity of the post. Though he hasn't taken any action against the turncoat MLAs, he was never seen participating in political campaigns or even TRS events.

Kodela is a senior leader, he should have lived up to that stature and protected his own dignity. If he turns into a puppet in the hands of Chandrababu, he will be the loser. He should be a role model for the future. Unfortunately, Kodela has given up self respect and is setting an unethical precedent.