DOWN IN DUST …Naidu’s dream prop, Praja Vedika, razed at night — Naidu blinks as he & family return from abroad

AMARAVATI: As pretentious former chief minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu and his family returned from a European vacation Tuesday night, weeks after his Telugu Desam party’s electoral defeat, a big action was unfolding on the banks of River Krishna here. Naidu’s fancy Praja Vedika, built adjacent to his rented residence at a cost of Rs five crore two years ago for him to hold official meetings and interactions with party workers, faced the hammer of successor CM Jagan Mohan Reddy. JCB machines demolished the structure in its entirety by Wednesday morning.

The building next to it, where Naidu stays and which belongs to his businessman friend, would also be demolished soon for reasons of rule violations. 
After the poll defeat and ouster from power, Naidu had written to the new CM on June 4, pleading that he be allowed continued use of the Praja Vedika building to meet his party workers. Jagan dismissed the plea with a wave of his hand. His reason: the building as also a long line of buildings on the banks of the river were built during Naidu’s past five-year-term with great frenzy but by also violating the norms applicable to river-side constructions. 

Naidu positions himself like a “Raja” and treats his people as his “prajas”, though these are the days of democracy. Hence, the name he gave to the building, Praja Vedika, where Prajas can come and meet the Raja. The ouster from power however poured cold water on his hopes.
Alongside, Naidu and his family faced another embarrassment as they landed at the Vijayawada airport – where a week ago Naidu had been frisked by the security for the first time in many years. The security cover for Naidu and his family was drastically scaled down. Naidu enjoyed Z category security, which would continue. His son Nara Lokesh too had been provided with Z category security, which has now been scaled down, from 5 plus 5 armed cops to 2 plus 2 armed cops. The security cover for the rest of Naidu’s family members has been withdrawn.

Naidu is enjoying Z class security since 2003, when he reported to police that Maoists were targeting him. 
Jagan stated on Monday that the Praja Vedika would be demolished. He also said the adjoining building where Naidu stayed on rent from 2016, when he shifted the capital from Hyderabad to Vijayawada would also be demolished. It was on rent, but built “illegally” on the banks of the river, Jagan reasoned.

The former CM and his family watched the demolition of Praja Vedika right in front of their eyes, from their rented home in the adjoining plot of land.
Naidu could just grin and bear with Jagan’s actions. On the one side, he lost power in the state. He had also burnt his bridges with PM Modi and the BJP by not only breaking away from the NDA but also hectoring a campaign against the Modi dispensation and seeking to cobble an Opposition alliance at national level to defeat the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls. Ignoring his responsibilities, he frequently visited Delhi to meet with Opposition figures including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, and Kolkata to scheme against PM Modi and the BJP-led government at the Centre.
The former CM’s plan was to shift to Delhi and handle power there after the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, and install his son Lokesh as the CM for the state. As it turned out, Naidu lost power in the AP assembly polls held in April alongside the Lok Sabha polls, and Lokesh was defeated too. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSRC stole a stunningly smart march over Naidu and his TDP.
Naidu is set to face more embarrassment as a bitter rivalry exists between Jagan and Naidu. Jagan is cleverly keeping various communities in good humour, mainly the BCs, by granting them not just ministership but also Deputy CM posts. He is building a new image for himself too. Two days ago, he told police officials to reach out to the common man. “When people visit the police stations, greet them with a smile. Show your teeth. Power should not get on to your head. Be with the people. We are not masters, we are servants of the people,” he told them.
Jagan has also effected a massive reshuffle of the officials, keeping his confidants in key positions and sidelining officials who were seen to be pro-Naidu.
Demolition under way…

For now, Jagan is using his popularity to push a lot of things. Jagan is not leaving anything to chance. He razed the Praja Vedika in just a night’s space, before Naidu could wake up from his bed and seek to create legal hurdles in the way of the massive structure’s demolition. By morning, Naidu’s dream project has been turned into dust, mortar and rubble.

Under Jagan, governance in the state would seem to have acquired a new zest. Naidu’s period was seen by many to be huge corrupt. Jagan said it was outright loot of public money in the name of various projects by Naidu and his cronies. 



Naidu’s TDP won 23 seats out of the total 175 in the state assembly, while the YSRC grabbed power by winning 151 seats.

YSRC also grabbed 22 of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in the LS polls, leaving only three seats to TDP. — IHN-NN

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