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Andhra Pradesh: TDP Labels YSR Congress Leader 'Furniture Thief'

In Hyderabad, the struggle for the chief minister’s position in Andhra Pradesh may be over, but a more significant conflict over furniture is intensifying. After the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) led by Chandrababu Naidu ousted the YSR Congress Party and its leader YS Jagan Mohan Reddy in the recent elections, securing 135 out of 175 […]

Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu
Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu

In Hyderabad, the struggle for the chief minister’s position in Andhra Pradesh may be over, but a more significant conflict over furniture is intensifying. After the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) led by Chandrababu Naidu ousted the YSR Congress Party and its leader YS Jagan Mohan Reddy in the recent elections, securing 135 out of 175 seats, they have begun to expose alleged controversies linked to their rivals.

The TDP accused Mr. Reddy of constructing a lavish ₹500-crore “hilltop palace” in Visakhapatnam to serve as a camp office. Now, they are branding the former chief minister a ‘furniture chor’ (thief), claiming he retained furnishings and fittings worth crores at his Tadepalli residence-cum-camp office, all funded by taxpayers.

This label is a retaliatory move, reflecting a similar accusation by the YSR Congress against TDP leader and former assembly speaker, Kodela Siva Prasad Rao. Following the TDP’s defeat in the 2019 elections, the YSR Congress alleged that Rao diverted assembly furniture to a showroom run by his son, Kodela Sivaram. This accusation, according to Sivaram, led to Rao’s suicide in September 2019 due to the resulting humiliation.

In response, Kodela Sivaram has explicitly blamed Mr. Reddy for his father’s death, while TDP’s IT minister, Nara Lokesh, has sarcastically questioned when Mr. Reddy plans to return the furniture. Additionally, Tejaswini, a leader of the TDP Mahila wing, filed a police complaint in Anantapur, accusing Mr. Reddy and his associates of driving Kodela Siva Prasad to suicide through humiliation and police cases.

Countering these claims, a YSR Congress leader stated that Mr. Reddy has already communicated his willingness to reimburse the government for all the furniture and fittings at his residence.

Controversy also surrounds a complex of seven buildings on Rushikonda Hills, dubbed “Jagan’s Palace” by critics, who allege it was built for Mr. Reddy’s use as the executive capital’s home and camp office. The YSR Congress maintains the complex was intended as a government asset for the tourism department, serving as a VVIP guest house or a venue for international conventions. Former tourism minister RK Roja Selvamani had confirmed it was considered for the chief minister’s camp office, a decision approved by a committee seeking a suitable location. However, the project’s secrecy, opulence, and cost have fueled criticism against the YSR Congress.

The TDP, now in power, is contemplating the future of this property. Nara Lokesh has pledged an inquiry into the matter, promising that justice will be served and the building will be repurposed for the benefit of Andhra Pradesh’s citizens.

In 2019, one of the initial moves by Jagan Mohan Reddy’s government was to demolish a Praja Vedika (government hall) near Chandrababu Naidu’s residence in Vijayawada’s Undavalli. This hall, which cost ₹8.9 crore to construct, was significant to Mr. Naidu, who had requested that Mr. Reddy allow it to remain. Despite this, the structure was declared illegal and subsequently bulldozed.

The remains of the demolished structure were left beside Mr. Naidu’s residence. The chief minister has since supported a proposal to turn the area into a museum, illustrating how ruling parties and governments should not operate. He compared it to the museums in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, suggesting it serve as a symbol of destructive governance and a motivation for people to progress.

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