YSRCP President YS Jaganmohan Reddy lashed out and Andhra Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Tuesday, accusing him of dropping the demand for the Special Category Status (SCS) to the state, after "being caught red-handed in the cash-for-vote scam" in Telangana.
"When Naidu and the TDP men come to bribe you with Rs 5,000 per vote, and force you to swear on God's picture that you will vote for TDP, I request you at that moment to stand on the right side of 'dharma'," Jagan told a crowd that had gathered at Moolsagaram.
Jagan was on the seventh day of his road show, and is touring Nandyal constituency ahead of the bye-poll.
The Hindu reported that Jagan cited the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, and pointed out that it had assured SCS for five years. He also alleged that Naidu shelved the demand after a case was booked against him.
In March this year, the Supreme Court issued a notice to Naidu, in response to a petition by YSRC MLA Alla Ramakrishna Reddy.
The cash-for-vote scam came to light after Telangana TDP MLA A Revanth Reddy was caught red-handed by the ACB on May 31, 2015.
He was caught on camera offering Rs 50 lakh to Independent MLA Stephenson to make him vote for the TDP-BJP candidate in the elections to the Telangana legislative council.
The ACB had earlier said that there were 516 telephone conversation records in the phone of Sebastian, one of the aides arrested, of which 102 are related to the cash-for-vote case.
However, the most important phone call was one alleged to be between Elvis Stephenson and Chandrababu Naidu.
The audio tape was first played by T News, a Telugu news channel owned by the ruling TRS party and was later picked up by others.
During the conversation, Naidu purportedly assured the nominated member that he was with him. "Our people briefed me. I am with you don't bother. For everything I am with you. What all they spoke, we will honour," Naidu was heard telling the legislator.
In November last year, an ACB court ordered that Naidu's reported role in the case be probed, following which the Chief Minister's advocates challenged the order in the Hyderabad High Court.
In December, the HC set aside the order of the ACB court, following which the YSRC MLA moved the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, Jagan's latest comment follows several barbs being traded by the TDP and the YSRCP as they continued to campaign on Tuesday, for the upcoming bye-poll.
It all began on August 3 with a massive public meeting at Nandyal town, where YSRCP Chief Jagan Mohan Reddy allegedly said, â€śA person like Chandrababu Naidu should be shot in public.â€ť His comments triggered outrage across the state, with the Election Commission also issuing a notice to Jagan.
Since then Jagan has even called for Naidu's 'hanging' twice, while the TDP is hitting back.
Education Minster Ganta Srinivas mocked Jagan for his alleged remarks saying "only people who lost their mental balance could speak like that, I reiterate that he must be admitted in a mental hospital, many are coming forward to bear the expenditure."
The Election Commission had also issued a show cause notice to Jagan last week after his comments.
Even Chief Minister Naidu had responded to Jagan's initial comments, saying, "What would you call a person who says that the CM should be shot dead, hit with slippers, threatens a Collector that he will be imprisoned? A maniac? Jaganâ€™s comments reflect his mental condition. The people should understand and gauge the consequences if he were made Chief Minister.â€ť
Nandyal, a constituency in the state's Rayalaseema area, has been witnessing a political void ever since the death of its sitting MLA Bhuma Nagi Reddy from a heart attack on March 12.
The TDP candidate is Bhuma Brahmananda Reddy while the YSRCP candidate is Silpa Mohan Reddy.
The Nandyal bye-poll is due to be held on August 23.