Andhra Pradesh and Telugu Desam Party supremo Nara Chandrababu Naidu has reposed confidence in many of his controversial MLAs and Cabinet colleagues. These legislators are known for their controversial and insensitive statements, patronage of widespread corruption in their regions and have earned notoriety in the state. Prominent among these are minister Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy and MLA Chintamaneni Prabhakar.
The name Sarvepalli (Chittoor) in our minds is associated with one of the greatest statesmen the nation has produced, the second president of India Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, whose birthday, September 5 marks Teacher's Day. Sadly, Sarvepalli constituency in Nellore district is the very anti-thesis of the ideals Dr Radhakrishnan stood for, because of its representative, minister Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy. The people of the state were shocked that the insensitive statements made by Somireddy after the murder attempt of AP Leader of Opposition, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on October 25 at Visakhapatnam airport. In fact, his statements have embarrassed the ruling party on several occasions, as many leaders from TDP privately admit. On one occasion, speaking at a farm loan grievance cell function in Kurnool district on August 20, 2018, Somireddy wondered why farmers were committing suicides for small amounts like Rs 1 lakh! Earlier in May, when the TTD controversy broke out, Somireddy lost no time in getting into the thick of it. He criticized head priest Ramana Deekshitulu for questioning the TDP government. He didn’t stop there. Somireddy said that Ramana Deekshitulu deserved to be taken to a police station and thrashed thoroughly. This minister, who has been in the eye of many political storms and has been accused of corruption in many cases has been rewarded once again by the TDP supremo for his ‘good’ work.
If the ticket to Somireddy was a shocker, a bigger jolt lay in store for those who had been following developments in TDP. Denduluru MLA Chintamaneni Prabhakar was given the ticket again by Chandrababu Naidu to the surprise of many. In February this year, a video of the TDP MLA’s derogatory remarks against Dalits went viral, attracting the ire of Dalit groups and activists. It may be recalled that instead of filing a case against the Denduluru TDP MLA, police arrested a YSRCP worker Kamireddy Venkatanarasimha Rao alias Nani for allegedly sharing the video clip where Chintamaneni Prabhakar was seen abusing Dalit at a Janmabhoomi Public meeting.
The MLA had claimed that the video in question was doctored to malign him but protests against him erupted in many parts of AP with Dalit leaders demanding that Chintamaneni be booked under SC/STs Atrocities Act. In early February that the Denduluru MLA abused a pension seeker. Using objectionable language, Chintamaneni asked the old man, Subba Rao how he expected the government to give him a pension when his son was associated with the YSR Congress Party. Chintamaneni reportedly abused farmers in the Janmaboomi programme conducted in Batluru village in early January. Police who came to the spot arrested farmers at the behest of the MLA.