Andhra Pradesh’s chief minister-designate Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy yesterday alleged that there was a big land scam in the new state capital Amaravati as his predecessor N Chandrababu Naidu had resorted to “insider trading”.
Addressing a news conference in the national capital, Jagan, as he is popularly known, said Naidu and his “benamis” (proxies) purchased vast tracts of lands at throwaway prices in Amaravati by misleading people that the state capital would come up at other places.
Terming it as a sensational scam, Reddy said the lands of Naidu and his “benamis” were also exempted from land pooling under which lands of farmers and others were acquired.
“Even under the land pooling, he paid compensation to whomever he wanted and at whatever rate he wanted,” Jagan said after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah.
Jagan’s YSR Congress Party stormed to power in the state with a landslide victory on Thursday, winning 151 seats in the 175-member assembly.
Jagan will take oath as the chief minister on May 30.
He said he would look into the scams that happened during the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) rule. “I have nothing against Mr Chandrababu Naidu but as the chief minister I am the custodian of the state.”
He also announced that wherever scams had taken place, he would cancel those works and go for “reserve tenders” to award the works to the lowest bidder after ensuring the participation of more number of bidders in the tender process.
“We will tell people where the scams were happening and how much public money we are able to save.”
About the Polavaram project in which the TDP government faced allegations of corruption, Jagan said he would cancel the works wherever irregularities were committed. He said completing the project in a time-bound manner with the central government’s support would be his priority.
On his poll promise of liquor ban, Jagan said this would be implemented in a phased manner.
He said after the swearing-in, he would hold department-wise reviews and release white papers so that people know the factual position of every department.
He vowed to provide corruption-free governance.
Asked about illegal assets cases against him, Jagan said the massive mandate proved they were politically motivated. He pointed out that the petitioners in these cases were Naidu, his TDP men and Congress leaders.
“These cases were filed only after my father’s death and after I left the Congress,” said Jagan, who spent 16 months in jail.
The YSRCP leader said when his father Y S Rajasekhara Reddy was the chief minister, he never stepped into the state secretariat.
“I never phoned a minister or a secretary and I was not even in Hyderabad. I used to come to Hyderabad once in a month to see my parents.”
He also said he had prayed to God not to give more than 250 Lok Sabha seats to any party taking power at the Centre so that he could bargain to get special category status to the state in exchange for legislative support.
“But unfortunately the BJP got more than 300 seats,” Jagan said.
Jagan, who requested Modi to accord Special Category Status (SCS) to the state as announced in parliament at the time of bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, admitted that his party can do very little in making demands on the new BJP government.
“If they had got 250 seats, I could have made them sign the order on SCS before swearing-in but unfortunately they got an overwhelming majority. They don’t even need our support,” said Jagan.
During an hour-long meeting with Modi, Jagan requested him to show magnanimity even in the position of strength.
“He listened to the whole thing. He was positive about helping the state and its people. It is a good sign. I am hoping that things will work out positively,” the YSRCP chief said.
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