Naidu levels corruption charges against Andhra government

March 31st, 2008 - 6:12 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi

Hyderabad, March 31 (IANS) N. Chandrababu Naidu, leader of opposition in the Andhra Pradesh assembly, Monday alleged that the Congress government in the state was neck-deep in corruption, while he initiated the debate on a no-confidence motion against it. Main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) had moved the motion against the four-year-old Congress government. Naidu levelled serious allegations of corruption against Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy and his cabinet colleagues.

He alleged that Reddy and other ministers were involved in misappropriation of billions of rupees under ‘Jalayagnam’ - a massive irrigation programme launched by the government.

Demanding a probe by a House committee, Naidu claimed that the ministers had become sub-contractors to get contracts worth Rs.400 billion for irrigation projects.

The motion moved by the TDP last Thursday is bound to be defeated. The ruling Congress party has an overwhelming majority in the house. The TDP has 45 members while the Congress has 183 in the 294-member house.

The TDP, however, said the motion was to “highlight” corruption in the government.

The budget session of the assembly, which was to conclude March 28, has been extended by three days to debate the motion and Speaker K.R. Suresh Reddy has allotted 19 hours for the debate.

During his marathon speech, Naidu lashed out at the government for rampant corruption, nepotism, misuse of power and administrative inefficiency and said it had lost moral right to continue in office.

He accused the chief minister, ministers and other ruling party leaders of “looting” public money, undermining democratic institutions and muzzling the voice of the opposition and media.

But ministers and other members of the ruling party repeatedly interrupted Naidu’s speech. They raised objections on the ground that he was making sweeping allegations against them without notice. Some ministers challenged him to prove his allegations.

Taking a dig at Y.S.R. Reddy, the TDP president said he had become one of the richest people in the world and more powerful than Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

“This chief minister has become high command of the high command,” he remarked.

He alleged the chief minister’s family had an income of Rs.2.7 million in 2003-04, which has now gone up to Rs.60 million. Naidu also claimed that the chief minister had interests in as many as 13 companies.

Naidu claimed that the sole aim of Sakshi, the new Telugu daily launched by the chief minister’s son Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, was to target the opposition.

“This newspaper was given government advertisement from the first day in violation of rules and it is incurring a loss of Rs.1.7 crore (17 million) every day,” he said.

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