Andhra, Telangana CMs in war of words over audio tape

Hyderabad/Guntur, June 8 (IANS) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and his Telangana counterpart K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Monday indulged in a bitter war of words over an audio tape related to the cash-for-vote scam.

Within minutes after Naidu claimed that he has equal rights on common capital Hyderabad, Rao hit back at him with the remark “Hyderabad is not your father’s property”.

“You are not chief minister of Hyderabad. Telangana bidda (son of Telangana) is the chief minister,” Rao said addressing a public meeting at Nalgonda on Monday night.

The Telangana chief minister repeatedly called Naidu a “thief” and said he stood exposed before the world with the audio tape of his telephonic conversation with nominated legislator Elvis Stephenson.

While Naidu threatened to expose Rao, the latter said he was not afraid of the allegations and asked the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president to mind his tongue.

KCR, as the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief is popularly known, said even god will not save Naidu.

Alleging that Naidu was caught red-handed, he ridiculed the Andhra chief minister’s claim that he was being implicated in a false case.

The TRS chief said the government cannot keep quiet when somebody from another state tries to buy over legislators of the ruling party.

He said Naidu’s conspiracies will not be allowed on the soil of Telangana.

On Naidu’s remark that he also has police in Hyderabad, KCR said it was Telangana police which has jurisdiction over Hyderabad.

“You (Naidu) said you have also have ACB (Anti-Corruption Bureau) in Hyderabad but I am not indulging in corrupt practices like you,” the TRS chief said.

Earlier, addressing a public meeting at Mangalgiri in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh to mark the first year of the TDP government, Naidu reacted sharply to the alleged tapping of his phone by the TRS government and said he has equal rights on Hyderabad, which is a common capital for 10 years.

Naidu said he was not afraid of phone-tapping or a false case by the TRS government.

Naidu, also the TDP chief, said his insult was the insult of five crore people of Andhra Pradesh.

He also told the gathering that he was ready to sacrifice his life for their self-respect.

“I also have the ACB and I also have police in Hyderabad,” he said while launching a bitter attack on KCR, describing him as “inefficient”.

He accused Rao of hatching a conspiracy against him through phone-tapping and fabrication of documents.

“Am I a servant of KCR?” he asked in a voice choked with emotion.

Naidu, who has repeatedly warned the TRS government against creating hostility between the two states, wondered who has given it the right to tap his phone.

The TDP chief said nobody can frighten him as he has the courage of TDP founder N.T. Rama Rao.

“It is not possible for KCR to put me in trouble by tapping my phone or through fabrication of document,” he said.

Naidu also said that under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, the governor was responsible for law and order in the common capital.

He reiterated the allegation that KCR “bought” legislators of the TDP and other opposition parties during the past year. He said one TDP lawmaker, without even resigning, became a minister in the TRS government.

This was Naidu’s first reaction after an audio tape of his alleged conversation with nominated Telangana legislator Elvis Stephenson in the cash-for-vote scam surfaced on Sunday.

Revanth Reddy, the TDP’s deputy leader in the Telangana assembly, was arrested by the ACB on May 31 when he was offering Rs.50 lakh to Stephenson to make him vote for the TDP-BJP candidate in the Telangana legislative council elections.

TRS leaders have alleged that Naidu was the mastermind in the case and demanded that he be booked.

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