Kadapa MP YS Jaganmohan Reddy's mother and the party honorary chief YS Vijaya has requested chief election commissioner SY Quraishi to direct CBI to release her son in larger interest of democracy and sought holding of free and fair elections in Andhra Pradesh.
In a letter addressed to Quraishi, Vijaya alleged her son was arrested just days before the June 12 bypolls as part of a larger conspiracy to deprive his participation in the election with the sole aim of helping the ruling Congress candidates.
Reacting to the letter, Andhra Pradesh chief electoral officer Bhanwar Lal said the Election Commission will take a call on the issue.
In her letter, Vijaya said, "I am writing this letter with great hope that you would kindly intervene (in the matter). CBI has arrested him (Jagan) on May 27, just 15 days before the by-elections (in the 18 Assembly segments and one Lok Sabha seat in Andhra Pradesh). This is part of a larger conspiracy to deprive his participation in the elections with the sole objective of helping the ruling Congress candidates."
"They have waited for waited for 270-odd days; they can wait for another 15 days, particularly when there is no possibility whatsoever for tampering with evidence," she said.
"The CBI did not summon Jagan for almost 270 days after filing the FIR. They could have arrested him at any time after the filing of FIR. But, they did not do so," the wife of former Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy maintained.
Vijaya, who is also an MLA, alleged CBI was being misused by the Congress. "It is no secret that in all CBI cases involving senior political leaders, they act according to the instructions of the Central government, which is presently the Congress-led UPA Government. Naturally, the CBI is serving the interest of the Congress party."
The arrest of Kadapa MP YS Jaganmohan Reddy by the CBI in a disproportionate assets case has also put the Andhra Congress — which is already grappling with the Telangana imbroglio — in a tight spot.
Though the party has officially dismissed any apprehensions arising from this incident, Congress managers know what would be its immediate impact on the June 12 by-elections to 18 assembly constituencies and one Lok Sabha seat in the state. In its statement, the party said it would be a very “erroneous read of the political genius” of India, whose people are very mature.
There are contrary views within the Congress on the implications of Jagan’s arrest on the party as well as Andhra Pradesh politics.
An influential section of the party is of the opinion that the development would have a “huge impact” on the YSR Congress. “Jagan’s party will have to bear the consequences because it’s a one-man organisation and lacks a proper structure,” a Congress member said.
However, others believe that Jagan’s arrest would benefit the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and not Congress. “Chandrababu Naidu has been our age-old, formidable opponent. In the long run, Jagan’s arrest will strengthen the TDP,” a leader said.
Political analysts are also of the opinion that the Congress could have avoided the move. “It’s a pyrrhic (costly) victory for the Congress,” said one of them. The party, he said, can regain lost ground only if it replaces CM Kiran Kumar Reddy with somebody who is acceptable to all, and is capable of immediately announcing a decision on Telangana.
The arrest of excise and prohibition minister Mopidevi Venkataramana by the CBI has already placed the government on the edge, and the agency is expected to make a few more high-profile arrests soon.
(With inputs from PTI, HT)