Kommineni Srinivasa Rao
Who is to be blamed for this--is it the AP police or Chandrababu? Can one cite Andhra Pradesh as an example of a state where there's democracy? Do the police enjoy the unfettered right to stamp out the activities of other political parties? Is the government's functioning not violative of democratic rights and functioning? Is the TDP government's attitude not a threat to democracy?
News of the Guntur incidents caused all-round consternation. As facts of the case go, a fact-finding team from YSRCP decided to visit the areas being subjected to illegal mining in the Gurajala constituency in Palnadu in Guntur. Why did the TDP government oppose this visit?
Ideally, the government should have provided a police escort to the team to prove that nothing illegal or unlawful was taking place. It would then have had an opportunity to prove the opposition parties wrong on this score. Instead, what the government did was just the opposite. It arrested YSRCP leaders across the district and in the process, the TDP established its own corrupt credentials.
At the centre of it all is the TDP MLA from Gurajala, Yarapatineni Srinivasa Rao, who has been accused of being the kingpin in the illegal quarrying scam, amounting to hundreds of crores of rupees. The TDP government has been largely indifferent to the issue and has been unresponsive to the charges and demands of the opposition. Finally, the High Court had to step in and ask for a report on the subject.
What did the TDP then do? It attempted to implicate complainants, labourers, helpers and those unconnected with the illegal mining, in false cases. This is the charge against them. It arrested senior leaders from the YSRCP including Botsa Satynarayana, Ummareddi Venkateswarulu and MLAs, Mustafa, Gopireddy Srinivasa Reddy and other leaders. The police also arrested Kasu Mahesh and Marri Rajasekhar when they tried to go to the limestone quarries in the region.
The TDP has no answer to the question as to why it is so dodgy on the subject. What does it have to hide? The excuse trotted out by the TDP that the opposition leaders posed a threat to law and order, is too lame to be bought. Does it mean the government as as weak and ill-equipped as that? On the other hand, the TDP partymen can apparently hold rallies and marches freely. The Andhra Pradesh police have been reduced to stooges of the ruling party. This sort of criticism of a once prestigious institution, seems unfortunate.
During the late Dr. YS Rajasekhara Reddy's period, when there were allegations from the TDP and other opposition parties with regard to the Obulapuram mines, Dr. YSR agreed to an all-party visit to the site. All the MLAs concerned then visited the site and submitted a report. Why is it that Chandrababu is shy of showing the same courage? He knows the answer too well--members of his own party are involved in scams amounting to hundreds of crores of rupees.
It is clear that Chandrababu is scared of getting exposed by the YSRCP delegation and coming into further disrepute. It is the responsibility of the government to act immediately when there are allegations of illegal mining. Instead, it exposed its own weakness by blocking the movement of YSRCP leaders and detaining them. Whether ther is any illegal mining or not, for the government to prevent leaders from going to any place in the country is downright wrong and unacceptable. It is abuse of authority.
Chandrababu Naidu is guilty of setting many wrong precedents. In the process, he causing great harm to his party and himself.