In Andhra Pradesh where the tides are increasingly in favour of the ruling YSRCP, one of their own MPs has become a thorn in the flesh. YSRCP’s MP from Narasapuram, Raghu Rama Krishnam Raju of late, has been occupying space on Telugu news channels, either through his lengthy press briefings or through his statements roasting his own party policies.
The latest instance is his speech during the ongoing Lok Sabha session, where he claimed that Hindus and Hindu places of worship are under threat in the state of Andhra Pradesh, where his own party led by YS Jagan Mohan Reddy is ruling.
Earlier, there were protests in the backdrop of a fire accident at the Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple in Antarvedi, where an old chariot was gutted in the early hours of September 6. The BJP and Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena have taken part in the protests alleging attacks on Hindu temples, and even the main opposition TDP has picked up the same issue and accused YS Jagan government of accommodating and targeting a particular religion (Hinduism).
Taking up the same issue, the Narasapuram MP spoke in Parliament and alleged that there has been a “constructive destruction” of Hindu temples in the state.
He said, “In Andhra Pradesh, constructive destruction of the Hindu temples is happening. There should be a Dharmik or Hindu commission, in line with Christian minorities or Muslim minorities to address the issues. Though we are the majority, we are being treated like a minority.”
Alleging changing of rules in Tirupati, he added “For the sake of one individual, they are changing the rules which have been in place for ages. Only the Karma Yogi, our honourable Prime Minister, shall address this issue.” The MP was talking about the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) board’s reported decision not to demand a declaration of faith in the God from the devotees.
However, it is not the first time Raghu Rama Krishnam Raju has been at loggerheads with the YSRCP government. Earlier, he had even sought security from the Union government, claiming that he had a threat to life from the ruling YSRCP.
He had accused YSRCP of caste-based politics, attracting a show cause notice from the party.
Speaking to TNM, MLA and Andhra government’s chief whip, Gadikota Srikanth Reddy alleged that MP Raghu Rama Krishnam Raju is ‘hand-in-glove’ with the TDP and is trying to tarnish the state government.
“He lost his credibility and is working for TDP. Since the TDP is losing its existence in Andhra Pradesh, they’re using him (Raghu Rama Krishnam Raju) in this covert manner. Raghu Rama is talking against the government with the help of TDP and if he has guts, he should resign. Why is he afraid?” Gadikota alleged.
Gadikota further said, “A section of leaders who joined BJP from the TDP, as well as the TDP, are using him for political mileage and are making him speak in such a manner, to suit the interests of the TDP.”
Meanwhile, the TDP is distancing itself from Raghu Rama Krishna Raju’s statements in Parliament, claiming that it has its own stand on the “attacks on Hindu temples.”
Senior TDP leader MLA Gorantla Butchayya Chowdary said the party has nothing to do with YSRCP MP’s statements. “Any MP can raise any problem, we have nothing to do with his statements. Firstly, why have they followed faulty policies and secondly, why are they mudslinging the TDP?”
While YSRCP is blaming the TDP for backing MP Raghu Rama Krishnam Raju, observers see the development otherwise.
Senior political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy, says, “Raghu Rama Krishnam Raju has displayed much affinity towards BJP in general, and Modi in particular. Hence, his actions could be motivated with the objective of creating a favourable environment in the state for ‘right-wing politics,’ considering his nature and the developments over the past two months. It is unlikely that Raghu Rama Krishnam Raju is working at the provocation of TDP.”
Further adding that the overall atmosphere in the state would go in the favour of BJP to build a base in the long run, he said, “Andhra Pradesh politics until 2019 elections were never split on religious grounds and if any such instances have occurred, they can be called aberrations. However, now with a Chief Minister who is considered a staunch Christian, the political parties in the opposition are painting a different colour in the state. And if Andhra Pradesh witnesses voter consolidation on religious grounds, then BJP will be the biggest gainer. Parties like Jana Sena and TDP might today counter YSRCP over religion, but this scenario will ultimately benefit BJP alone.”