Amaravati: The government of Andhra Pradesh, a few days back, celebrated Chief Minister Y S Jaganmohan Reddy completing one year in office. The joyous event apparently blew the lid off the smoldering discontent among the ruling party lawmakers that brings the Jagan’s style of functioning under the spotlight.
Jagan Reddy heavily focused on welfare schemes in the last one year, trying to keep happy almost every section that matters in the electoral politics. He also strove to leave his own mark in administration by undoing the policies of his predecessor N. Chandrababu Naidu of the TDP. In the process, he gave little attention to be heard by his party workers. The dissent voices being raised from his party now exposed the widening gulf between the Chief Minister and the ruling party lawmakers. In a short span, he earned the reputation as a leader who is inaccessible to his own party MLAs and MPs, leave alone ordinary workers.
MLAs face identity threat
The 47-year-old CM chose to have young and fresh faces in his cabinet with five Deputy Chief Ministers, thus, rubbing the senior and experienced leaders the wrong way. With his top-down approach, Jaganmohan Reddy reduced his party MLAs to be out of the reckoning in the eyes of their own electors in the constituencies. The lawmakers are forced to even play the second fiddle to the official top brass in the districts—a scene quite visible during the Naidu regime that seems repeating in the current Jagan’s dispensation also.
The YSR Congress chief swept the polls in 2019, winning 151 seats in the 175-member state Assembly and 22 out of 25 Lok Sabha seats with a promise to bring in a marked difference in governance from the TDP rule which he said was steeped in corruption and scams.
But, in practice, the Jagan’s rule in the last one-year seemingly failed to check the land mafia and contain corruption in administration. The ruling party senior MLA and former minister Dharmana Prasada Rao right in the presence of Deputy Chief Minster, Alla Kalikrishna Srinivas (Nani), at a hospital advisory committee meeting in Srikakulam, lamented over an outsourcing company engaged in sanitation works in government hospitals running a job racket. It is complained that the agency is collecting money ranging up to Rs 2-3 lakh from the poor for the jobs. “The previous TDP engaged the Mumbai-based agency. Our government could not terminate the contract entrusted to the agency nor did we check its fraudulent activities,” Dharmana told this writer.
Sand policy in shambles
East Godavari’s Kothapeta MLA Chirla Jaggi Reddy, Bollineni Bramha Naidu and Kilaru Rosaiah, lawmakers from Guntur district, went on record, expressing serious concerns over the miserable failure of the government’s new sand policy. “Our constituencies are located close to the Krishna and the Godavari rivers. But we failed to provide a fistful of sand to our people for building houses. Sand is being diverted to outside areas after mining from the beaches, giving room for sand mafias to thrive,” they said. Jagan Reddy, while in opposition, vowed to root out sand mafia allegedly patronised by the TDP government and sent TDP’s Chintamaneni Prabhakar of West Godavari, accused of assaulting a lady revenue officer in connection with sand extraction, to jail after he came to power.
Officials under fire
Kandukur MLA Manugunta Mahidhar Reddy in Prakasam district resorted to a sit-in at the Zilla Parishad office, saying the official machinery in his district was inaccessible to public representatives. “I tried several times talking to senior officials over phone on acute drinking water problem in the summer, but none of them was available,” he said.
In Nellore district, senior former minister Anam Ramnarayana Reddy, representing Venkatagiri, also targeted the district officials for their failure to check water business. Water from the Somasila reservoir, meant for irrigating farm fields, is being exploited for sales in urban areas in connivance with the officials from the Irrigation department. Apparently, Minister for Irrigation Anil Kumar Yadav comes from Nellore district. “I got a petition signed by the Chief Minister seeking to modernise Somasila-Swarnamukhi link canal to supply drinking water for his constituency people and dispatched it to the district officials concerned a long time ago. Now, I am not able to even get it traced, a clear case of red tape in the administration”, he regretted.