Andhra govt seizes conference hall next to Naidu’s residence, TDP smells a plot

In yet another embarrassment to Telugu Desam Party president and opposition leader N Chandrababu Naidu, the Andhra Pradesh government on Saturday took possession of Praja Vedika, a conference hall constructed adjacent to his rented residence at Vundavall in Amaravati.

The officials of the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) threw out all the belongings of Naidu and his party and locked the premises. The government on Friday decided that YSR Congress party president and chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy will hold a Collectors’ Conference at the hall on Monday.

Praja Vedika, a sprawling hall, was constructed in 2017 by the previous TDP government at a cost of Rs 5 crore to enable Naidu to meet people who came to meet him and submit representations to him on various grievances. He also used to address official meetings, including Collectors’ Conferences regularly in that hall.

The government used to pay rent for both Naidu’s residence as well as Praja Vedika during his tenure.

After losing power to the YSR Congress party in the recent assembly elections, Naidu was using the Praja Vedika to meet party leaders and workers coming from different parts of the state.

On June 4, he gave a representation to the chief minister, requesting that he be allowed to continue in the same house located on the private property. He also requested Jagan Mohan Reddy to allow him to use Praja Vedika adjacent to his house to meet his party workers and also people coming from different parts of the state.

“Since there is no space in the residence to meet people, I request you to allow me to use Praja Vedika as my residential annexe,” Naidu said.

Within hours of Naidu writing the letter, a delegation of YSRC leaders made a representation to chief secretary L V Subrahmanyam stating that Jagan Reddy was planning to make use of Praja Vedika for meeting the common people regularly, besides party workers.

As both the letters written by Naidu and YSRC leaders were still pending with the chief secretary, the government on Friday suddenly decided to take over Praja Vedika for official meetings.

The TDP leaders raised objection to the alleged high-handed behaviour of the YSRC government. “How can the authorities forcibly take over the conference hall and throw out all the belongings of Naidu without even giving notice? It is a clear case of a conspiracy hatched by the government at a time when Naidu is on a foreign trip,” TDP MLC P Ashok Babu said.

Minister for municipal administration and urban development Botsa Satyanarayana, however, strongly defended taking over of Praja Vedika by the state government. “It is not a private property, it is a government building. So, the question of giving any notice to Naidu before taking over the property does not arise. It is not correct on the part of the TDP leaders to ask for a government property for party work,” he said.

However, a senior TDP leader who refused to be quoted said the decision to take over Praja Vedika is part of a larger conspiracy to evict Naidu from his residence, located adjacent to the conference hall.

“If Jagan holds official meetings and also meetings with the people there regularly, it will pose security issues to Naidu in his house. There will be restrictions on the movement of people and TDP workers coming to meet him. So on security issues, Naidu will be asked to vacate the house,” he said.

Senior YSRC leader and local MLA Alla Ramakrisna Reddy has already declared that Naidu would have to vacate his house and look for alternative house, since the building was an illegal construction. “At present, a case against the building is pending in the court. Once it is settled, he will have to vacate it,” Reddy said.

First Published: Jun 22, 2019 18:13 IST

Updated: June 22, 2019 — 6:12 pm