Harish Rao comments: YSRCP-BRS verbal slugfest turns spiteful

The war of words between the leaders of BRS and YSR Congress became more spiteful on Thursday after former minister Perni Nani too came up with a riposte to T Harish Rao

Harish Rao comments: YSRCP-BRS verbal slugfest turns spiteful

AMARAVATI: The war of words between the leaders of Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) and YSR Congress became more spiteful on Thursday after former minister Perni Nani too jumped into the controversy with a riposte to Minister T Harish Rao.

Addressing a press conference here, Perni Venkataramaiah aka Perni Nani took a dig at the remarks made by T Harish Rao. He alleged that the Telangana Finance Minister was in the habit of deliberate mudslinging on the YSRCP Government for his political mileage. “If the Telangana Government was really committed to the welfare of Andhra Pradesh people, why was it opposing the Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Scheme of Andhra Pradesh, which lifts water for the Pothireddypadu canal? And how are they illegally constructing Dindi and Palamuru Rangareddy irrigation projects? If they think they have a right on Dindi and Palamuru, so do we, on Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Scheme,” he asserted.

Claiming sarcastically that Harish Rao was a political genius, Perni Nani alleged that the nephew of KCR always used the YSRCP government as a punching bag to indirectly target the Telangana Chief Minister. “He knows that his accusations will be greeted with prompt retaliation from our side, exposing Telangana Government’s failures. And he precisely wants this to happen,” he alleged.

In a retort to Harish Rao’s earlier comments, Nani said that they too had friends in Telangana who lamented about the pathetic roads and infrastructure in the neighbouring state. “Can Harish Rao join us for a tour of Khammam district or Bhadrachalam or Adilabad which will expose his? Why any other place? Take Hyderabad. Sewage drains overflowing roads is an all-pervading sight in the Telangana capital. Then, why all this chest-thumping while trying to show Andhra Pradesh in poor light?,” he questioned.

The latest bout of shadow boxing between the leaders of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh ruling parties was triggered two days ago when Harish Rao claimed that a few migrant construction workers wanted to change their vote enrollment preference to Telangana from Andhra Pradesh. He made this claim to buttress his accusation that Andhra Pradesh had witnessed no development.

This evoked sharp criticism from a few Andhra Pradesh ministers who questioned the motives behind the verbal onslaught. They criticised the Telangana Finance Minister for trying to portray the neighbouring state in poor light in his desperation to put his state on a higher pedestal of development.

Andhra Pradesh Civil Supplies Minister Karumuri Venkata Nageswara Rao alleged that Harish Rao’s rants reflected his hatred towards the people of Andhra Pradesh. He wondered if Telangana, despite being a wealthy state, was able to implement at least one of the many schemes implemented in Andhra Pradesh.

Education Minister Botsa Satyanarayana accused Harish Rao of stooping so low to rake up unwarranted controversies instead of speaking on policies. “What qualification and what business does he has to talk about Andhra Pradesh issues? History is witness to who said what on the issue of special category status. It will be better if the Telangana minister focuses on his state’s development,” he said.

Minister for Animal Husbandry Seediri Appalaraju was at his obnoxious best when he raked up ‘regional fanaticism’ and sought to link it to the BRS. Throwing all decencies and decorum of public speaking to the wind, he made uncourteous comments on the TRS and its transition to the BRS. He also targetted KCR’s rule in Telangana while questioning the sudden love for Andhra Pradesh, something they never showed when it came to the interstate river water disputes. In a response to his vengeful comments, the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister’s Office on Thursday reprimanded the minister in no uncertain terms, advocating restraint in his utterances.

Lella Appireddy, YSRCP MLC, in his reaction, claimed that Harish Rao’s comments were aimed at diverting the public attention from the scams that came to light in Telangana. Claiming that Hyderabad got submerged even with an isolated downpour, he advised Harish Rao to focus more on improving civic amenities in his state capital.

The spiral of charges and counter accusations continued with a few leaders from Telangana indulging in some retaliatory fire against the other side. MLAs Saidi Reddy, Peddi Sudarshan Reddy and TSIMDC Chairman Erolla Srinivas were among the Telangana leaders who stoutly defended the Finance Minister while castigating aspersions on the Andhra Pradesh leaders.

Saidi Reddy, at a press meet at Telangana Bhavan in Hyderabad, described the comments of the Andhra Pradesh ministers against Harish Rao as an attack on the Telangana self-respect and pride. Claiming that all political outfits in Andhra Pradesh were acting like ‘Modi parties’, he said that none of the Andhra Pradesh Ministers could match Harish Rao in debating the development of both the states.

He warned the Andhra Pradesh ministers against making uncouth comments and asked them instead to emulate Telangana model of development which, he claimed, had grabbed the attention of the entire country.

Erolla Srinivas accused the Andhra Pradesh leaders of distorting Harish Rao’s off-the-cuff comments. He claimed that Telangana witnessed positive transformation only after KCR became its chief minister. He alleged that the Andhra Pradesh ministers were talking like fanatics and street fighters.

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