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TDP, Cong knock Kalam's door for 'justice'

Inter-party rivalry seems to be the order of the day and Naidu is now making it a national campaign too, reports Saroj Nagi.

india Updated: Oct 20, 2006 01:16 IST
Saroj Nagi

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Congress went knocking on President A P J Abdul Kalam’s door on Thursday with facts and statistics to counter each other in the political face-off having its genesis in the Outer Ring Road controversy and the Supreme Court’s judgement negating the clemency granted to an Andhra Congress leader involved in the murder of two TDP activists.

To buttress his plea for Presidential intervention on these two issues, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu handed APJ Abdul Kalam on Saturday a 927-page tome detailing the "corrupt activities" of Chief Minister YS Rajashekhara Reddy and his friends and relatives in the Rs 2,500 crore Outer Ring Road scandal and a separate 100-page document on how the CM had defied Constitution and violated the rule of law by recommending pardon for a person convicted in  a murder case

"We have provided all documentary evidence. The Chief Minister has no authority to continue now and must resign," the TDP leader later told newspersons.

In seeking the President’s intervention, Naidu tried to turn his hitherto state level agitation against YSR into a national campaign that will also be articulated in Parliament’s Winter session in November when the TDP sets up a united parliamentary group of likeminded parties. 

Naidu emphasised this by including Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh and Asom Gana Parishad’s Sarabananda Sonowal in his delegation when he met the President.

He tried to mobilise opinion on the twin issues when he met Vice President BS Shekhawat and then CPI’s A B Bardhan. A more decisive statement in this regard will be made at a "massive rally" at Hyderabad next month which will be attended by all state-level Opposition parties as well as by SP’s Mulayam Singh Yadav, AGP’s Brindaban Goswami and some other leaders who could be part of a possible third front.

With 38 Lok Sabha and 48 Lok Sabha MPs, the TDP, SP and AGP are determined to make their point in Parliament. "If it is felt necessary, we will not allow Parliament to function on these  issues," Amar Singh said.

A worried Congress went into a damage control exercise, by hitting back at the TDP leader who as CM, it alleged, had released hundreds of criminals and even inducted some of them in his cabinet.

Before Naidu went to Rashtrapati Bhavan, a seven member delegation of Congress MPs and leaders from Andhra Pradesh, led by D Vittal Rao, met the President and later Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to protest that Naidu’s allegations against YSR and then Governor Sushilkumar Shinde in the clemency case were "politically motivated."

They urged the President to discourage Naidu from his "anti-democratic activity" and "disinformation campaign" that the apex court had passed strictures against the CM and the then Governor.

The clemency to Venkata Reddy, they claimed, was based on reports submitted by the then SP and DM of Kurnool that his release would not lead to any law and order problems.

"Reddy’s is only the second case of remission under the Congress rule in Andhra Pradesh… During the TDP regime, 1500 criminal cases were closed. Government orders were issued to drop proceedings against criminals, some of whom were inducted in the Cabinet… More than 1,000 Congressmen were killed by TDP activists at that time. Among the victims was YS Raja Reddy, YSR’s father,"  the delegation said. The memorandum lists some Government orders issued by the Naidu government to drop criminal proceedings. 

The Congress leaders alleged that Naidu had dropped criminal proceedings against Satish Reddy, Paritala Ravindra, P Ramasubba Reddy and others, some of whom were given Cabinet or other important positions.

They alleged he had also used his clout with the Centre to get the CBI close its probe in the bomb blast that took place in the house of K Siva Prasada Rao who was later inducted in the Cabinet.

sarojnagi@hindustantimes.com