Congress MP from Andhra Pradesh, Manda Jagannatham, came under fire on Wednesday as TV channels showed him slapping the manager of a public sector bank for “not releasing loans” to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe beneficiaries.
Jagannatham said members belonging to SC and ST community have been suffering for the past six months because of the manager’s uncooperative attitude. He said he rang up Reddy to find out the reason for not releasing loans after a lot people complained to him. The manager was very casual in his response, the MP alleged.
Reddy, however, denied charge of being drunk when the MP went to his office. He also denied the charge that he delayed loan disbursal to SC and ST beneficiaries. He alleged that that the MP wanted the whole loan process completed in a single day. “I told him it would take some time, but he didn’t listen to me. He manhandled me,” Reddy claimed. On a complaint by Reddy, police lodged cases under Sections 353 (assault on a public servant), 323 (causing hurt) and 504 (intimidation) against the MP.
Police also lodged a case under SC/CT Atrocities (Prevention) Act against Reddy after two followers of the MP filed a complaint charging that the manager had abused their caste when they went to seek a loan.
The MP’s misadventure has put the ruling Congress party in a tight spot that too at a time when local bodies elections are just a month away. AICC in-charge for Andhra Pradesh, Veerapa Moily, asked the PCC president to submit a report. Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy has also sought a report from the district administration.
Jagannatham is not new to controversies. Last year, he was expelled from the Telugu Desam Party after he voted in favour of the UPA during the trust vote in parliament. He later joined the Congress.
Protesting the attack on Ravinder Reddy, manager of the Uppunuthala branch of Andhra Pradesh Grameen Vikas Bank, hundreds of employees of the regional bank went on strike in Telangana districts demanding an apology from the MP who represents the Nagarkurnool Lok Sabha seat. They demanded immediate withdrawal of a “false case” lodged against the manager by the MP.
Employees of the bank decided not to disburse any loan till the matter was settled. On his part, the MP refused to apologise. He defended his action and accused the manager of being drunk and making derogatory remarks about his caste. Jaganatham belongs to the Schedule Caste category.