Decode Politics: Why TDP has accused Jagan Mohan Reddy of ‘opulence’ over a Vizag resort

android, decode politics: why tdp has accused jagan mohan reddy of ‘opulence’ over a vizag resort

Targeting former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and YSRCP chief Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, TDP MLA Ganta Srinivasa Rao has brought the focus on Rushikonda Hill in Visakhapatnam that was supposed to be developed as a tourism spot. The TDP’s Bheemili MLA and the Jana Sena Party (JSP) cadre on Sunday barged into the site and reiterated the allegation that the YSRCP when in power was developing a resort on the site, spread over 61 acres, as a “CM residence” for Jagan.

What is the row about and why is the TDP raking it up after trouncing the YSRCP in the recently concluded elections in which the YSRCP has been reduced to 11 seats in the 175-member House?

What is the row about?

In late 2021, the YSRCP government announced that the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC)-run Haritha resort on the hill would be redeveloped as a tourist attraction. Since then, a 9.88-acre area of the resort has been out of bounds. The YSRCP-led government had claimed that the development work was going on.

Official records say the area was divided into several blocks and buildings were being constructed on the land at an estimated cost of Rs 356.4 crore. In February, former Tourism Minister R K Roja inaugurated the redevelopment project.

The TDP over the years has questioned the “secrecy” around the project and accused the YSRCP of building a “Raj Mahal” for Jagan in the guise of the project, which the party claimed violated many norms.

What is the TDP getting at?

Weeks after storming to power, Srinivasa Rao and the supporters of the ruling dispensation stormed the site in a bid to “lift the veil of secrecy” around the project ahead of CM Chandrababu Naidu’s scheduled visit to Visakhapatnam. They also clicked pictures of the “opulence” at the site and posted them on social media.

Rao lashed out at the YSRCP for demolishing Praja Vedika that was built during the rule of the previous TDP government. “Jagan was voted out of power without even getting to experience the opulence of the palace he built,” he told reporters on Sunday.

Rao said deliberations were underway to decide the building’s fate. “The palace was constructed in an infeasible manner and a decision on how it will be put to use will be taken after Naidu visits the building,” he said.

A close aide of TDP’s Visakhapatnam MP M Bharat said, “The truth is finally out in front of people. We have been saying this for the past many years. This was Jagan’s pet project that he intended to reap the benefits of. It has nothing to do with Andhra.”

How has the YSRCP responded?

The Jagan-led party has maintained that the redevelopment project was in the interest of the state and was aimed at boosting tourism in Visakhapatnam.

“The buildings in Rushikonda are government-owned assets and not private property. They do not belong to anyone. These buildings were constructed keeping in mind the priority given to Visakhapatnam by the previous government. It is up to the present government how to use them,” the party said in a post on X on Sunday. It claimed the buildings were being constructed to house dignitaries such as the Prime Minister and President when they visit the city.

The party alleged that Naidu who since 1995 has talked about making Visakhapatnam the state’s financial capital had not done anything for the city during his previous tenure as CM.

What is the political takeaway from the episode?

Many in the TDP believe that the demolition of the Haritha resort in Rushikonda was a key reason for the YSRCP’s downfall in Visakhapatnam, where it lost all seven Assembly segments that are part of the Lok Sabha seat.

“The people knew the YSRCP was up to no good and hence we won all the seven Assembly as well as the Lok Sabha seat with a thumping majority. Jagan tried to salvage his face by announcing that he would take oath from Visakhapatnam but the people did not buy it,” said a TDP leader in the city.

According to ruling party insiders, the issue is being highlighted to illustrate Jagan’s misgovernance. “His scams started with the Praja Vedika and he wanted to make Visakhapatnam as the capital so that his leaders who had brought lands there could make profits out of it,” said a TDP leader.

However, the YSRCP has alleged political vendetta. “As they have come to power, they want to destroy the Opposition by making baseless allegations. This is the start of their systematic process. They are trying to milk the capital issue to their benefit. We are aware of these tactics and are up to the challenge,” said a close aide of former minister Gudivada Amarnath who lost from the adjoining Anakapalle Assembly seat.

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