Kommineni Srinivasa Rao

What impression does one get when one sees the unfolding drama in West Bengal and the events in Andhra Pradesh. One begins to wonder whether the chief minister there, Mamata Banerjee and the Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu would stand by the suffering poor or would back those who looted them to the extent of thousands of crores. Both of them claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah are destroying democratic institutions.

Throwing their weight behind the two are Rahul Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav, MK Stalin and others. Criticise Modi, Shah as much as you want but Chandrababu and Mamata need to answer some pertinent questions.The key questions which require mamata's responses are related to Saradha chit fund scam and Rose Valley group scam—both of which total over 50,000 crore rupees. Doesn't this logically mean that this money was looted from the common people? Can she deny this? Mamata Banerjee's argument is that she herself had ordered a probe into the matter and had set up a special investigation team (SIT). Doesn't this itself amount to admitting that people's money had been looted on a large-scale? Isn't the current probe related to the tampering of evidence by officer Rajeev as SIT official? Therefore, the Supreme Court stepped in and ordered the CBI to take up the case. Where is the need for Mamata Banerjee to link PM Modi and Amit Shah to the case? What business does a police commissioner have to evade inquiry and go underground? How can he not respond to notices given by the CBI? How can the Kolkata police bundle CBI officials who went to police commissioner's residence into a van and haul them to a police station? Does this amount to upholding the democratic spirit in any way? If the West Bengal government feels that the CBI is directing Rajeev Kumar to appear before it in an unjust fashion, it can say so through a written submission. It can even go to court. Instead, the chief minister, oddly enough, sits on a protest herself. Can a chief minister block any inquiry as per his or her whim and fancy? Does a probe amount to a raid or assault? Why did Mamata Banerjee who pats herself on the back for protecting institutions refuse to allow Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath's helicopter to land. Why did she try to place hurdles along each step of the way during Amit Shah's tour?

Chandrababu Naidu is making a big fuss of the entire matter and trying to gauge political mileage out of this. The Andhra Pradesh chief minister himself has the rather dubious distinction of not allowing the state police to co-operate with the NIA with respect to the inquiry into the murder attempt on the Leader of Opposition in AP Assembly YS Jagan Mohan Reddy as directed by the AP High Court. Moreover, the state police authorities have refused to hand over the case records to the NIA. Does this amount to respecting institutions? In fact, both these chief ministers are seriously undermining democratic institutions as they had in the past by admitting turncoat MLAs into their parties. It is off on Rahul Gandhi's party to support Mamata Banerjee in spite of this. Rahul's silence on Mamata's luring Congress MLAs into her fold is baffling to say the least. As regards, Chandrababu Naidu upholding the spirit of democracy, he needs to be reminded that it was he who got YSR Congress Party president YS Jagan Mohan Reddy arrested on the runway of the Vizag airpot when the AP Leader of Opposition wanted to stage a protest demanding SCS to the state. Is this democratic in any way? Does it not amount to destroying democratic institutions? Even when there was no specific complaint against YS Jagan, Chandrababu Naidu in league with the Congress, got cases foisted againt YS Jagan faulting investments in his companies and sought a CBI inquiry.

In fact when investments to Andhra Pradesh got impacted due to the then Joint director, Chandrababu Naidu patted him on his back. TDP party workers even worshipped flexis of the joint director in question, Lakshminarayana. At that time, he hailed the CBI and his rule. How did the same agency become a disreputable one? Why did Chandrababu Naidu seek a CBI probe into Paritala Ravi's murder as also allegations in building ORR to which the late Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy agreed readily. At that time, Chandrababu saw no damage to institutions, but now, he speaks as if democracy is in danger. Is Chandrababu Naidu finding fault with decisions of the Supreme Court and High court? In fact by backing somebody like him, the image of leaders like Rahul Gandhi is also getting dented. Mamata Banerjee is likely to earn a bad name for herself in this entire episode by opposing the CBI. The question which arises in everyone's minds is would Mamata block a CBI probe unless her partymen were involved in the scam. As for Chandrababu, he is a rank opportunist who has nothing to do with values. The most important question, however, is whether people would back Mamata, Chandrababu and Rahul Gandhi in this matter.