Kommineni Srinivasa Rao

The AP Assembly proceedings are progressing in an interesting manner and the reason for this is the smooth conduct of the session by Speaker Tammineni Sitaram. It must be said that Leader of Opposition Chandrababu Naidu scored a self goal when he was given the opportunity to speak on 2-3 different occasions. He found himself in a spot on quite a few counts. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy played a video clip in the Assembly of how the TDP had let people down on its commitments during its rule. YS Jagan also substantiated many other points with concrete evidence and even challenged TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu in one instance. The cornered TDP supremo deviated from the topic and spoke of other issues as was evident to all. Question house discussion veered off into a debate over diversion of Godavari waters to Srisailam. TDP MLA Nimmala Ramanaidu referred to YS Jagan's Jala Deeksha in Kurnool during the TDP rule and alleged that the AP chief minister had now changed his stance. Responding to this, Anil Kumar Yadav clarified that YS Jagan's protest was with regard to Palamuru project.

Finance minister Buggana Rajendranath weighed in saying that a leader's political stance is dynamic and cannot be rigid. It is subject to change depending upon circumstances, he pointed out.

YS Jagan spoke with clarity and precision. Speaking on the Kaleshwaram project, he asked Chandrababu Naidu what he had been doing for five years when KCR went about building it. The AP chief minister also commended KCR for being magnanimous towards Andhra Pradesh with respect to Srisailam. He questioned Chandrababu Naidu's criticism of the governments of Telugu states on this count. YS Jagan also reminded the House of the manner in which Chandrababu Naidu tried to strike an electoral alliance with the TRS even before the last rites of NTR's son and his brother-in-law Harikrishna, had been completed.

Reacting to Chandrababu's statement that AP would be denied its share of water if Telangana built projects, YS Jagan wondered why the TDP chief should have reservations over harmonious relations between the two states. He also questioned him on his silence on Srisailam and Nagarjuna Sagar projects at the time of bifurcation of the state. YS Jagan repeatedly asserted that both states would move on the path of progress and prosperity only if there were cordial relationship between the two states.

At one point, Chandrababu said that YS Jagan's age equalled the number of experience he had in politics. This point was strongly countered by YSRCP legislators and ministers. YS Jagan also took the moral high ground by saying that cordial ties between the two states would lead to proper sharing of water resources. During Chandrababu's tenure, he said that the state suffered when the height of Almatti and other projects was raised.

On the subject of drought relief, the AP CM asked for a video clip to be played to demonstrate to Chandrababu the gulf between his word and actions with respect to loan waivers. YS Jagan also cited examples of letters written repeatedly by government officials reminding the former chief minister of the need to procure seeds for farmers and how they went unanswered by Chandrababu.

When YS Jagan said that the YSRCP government had initiated zero interest loans to farmers, TDP member Rama Naidu stated that the scheme had been in place earlier and the Chandrababu government had also continued it. To this, the AP chief minister threw a challenge observing that the TDP should prove that it had given zero interest loans to farmers during its time. Chandrababu had decided that zero interest loan need not be given and if the TDP is ready to face it, he would call for the records, he said demanding Chandrababu's resignation, if his claim was proved wrong. The TDP chief found himself painted into a corner by his own party legislator and could neither buttress his claim nor counter it.

Chandrababu could not give a direct answer to the question as to whether his government had given zero interest loans to farmers. YS Jagan announced that funds would be given to all constituencies without any discrimination on grounds of party. Each constituency would get a sum of Rs 1 crore including that of Chandrababu's Kuppam. Responding to this, minister Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy said that YS Jagan deserved to be complimented on this point and reminded the house that even when reminded, Chandrababu did not release funds to Opposition MLAs. Instead, they were given to defeated TDP candidates appointed as constituency coordinators. On this count too, Chandrababu Naidu failed to respond. Perhaps the TDP chief felt that he was being cornered repeatedly and to divert attention, he claimed that YS Jagan was humiliating him. Botsa reminded Chandrababu Naidu that during his regime, speaker Kodela Sivaprasad Rao invariably gave the mike to those who criticised YS Jagan and spewed venom on him. The former speaker hardly gav an opportunity to YSRCP MLAs, he pointed out. In this respect, Speaker Tammineni deserves to be complimented. Moreover, YSRCP MLAs and ministers confined themselves to the subject and did not behave as TDP members used to in the past.

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