Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s did not attend the dinner hosted by Governor ESL Narasimhan in honour of the visiting President Pranab Mukherjee. This move has raised some eyebrows in Hyderabad's power cycles, while Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu's presence at the dinner was noted.
The dinner comes in the wake of alleged cash-for-vote and phone-tapping scandals and a meeting of the two CMs would definitely have been something to watch out for. The scandals took hostilities between the two governments to the peak in June, marking one year of the two separated states.
The official reason for Rao's absence is that he was suffering from a fever. Though the CMO officials put it as a slight ailment, the CM had in fact cancelled all his appointments for the day.
Nevertheless it was expected that Rao would take the effort to attend the event, travelling 2km from his official residence to the Raj Bhavan and be present if only for a few minutes, as a mark of respect for the President and the host – the governor.
Narasimhan has hosted the dinner on Tuesday in honour of the President Pranab Mukherjee who is on a 10 day southern sojourn. Following tradition, Mukherjee would stay at the Rashtrapati Nilayam in Bollarum near Secunderabad and would go on visits, like to Tirupati on Wednesday.
Telangana CM Rao had received Mukherjee at the airport on Monday. On Tuesday, Andhra Pradesh CM Naidu made a courtesy visit to the President.
The cash-for-vote and phone-tapping issues which have spiralled into a law and order dispute in the common capital and governor's powers had in fact reached Mukherjee when Naidu called on him in New Delhi to explain the situation in Hyderabad.
With the common governor Narasimhan’s few initiatives to make the two CMs sit and resolve their differences making no headway, it was anticipated that the Tuesday dinner would be the right occasion where the two CMs meet, smile for the cameras and shake hands in presence of the President and chart a new course in resolving their differences.
Meanwhile, the prime accused in the cash-for-vote scam TDP MLA Revanth Reddy was granted bail by the Hyderabad High Court on Tuesday. Reddy was arrested on May 31, following a sting operation where he allegedly offered cash to Elvis Stephenson, a nominated MLA in Telangana assembly, to vote in favour of TDP in the MLC elections. Reddy will be released on Wednesday.
An alleged audio conversation of Naidu with Stephenson also surfaced soon after, following which AP government accused Telangana government of tapping their phones.