Aiming to set an example for the entire country, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy on Thursday urged Assembly Speaker to immediately disqualify legislators defecting to the other party.
At a time when Speaker of some state assemblies, including Telangana, are facing allegations of sitting on petitions to disqualify defectors, Jagan appealed to Thammineni Seetharam to take a quick decision and disqualify any MLAs switching loyalties.
Congratulating Seetharam on his unanimous election, Jagan hoped that under him, the state Assembly will set an example for the entire country.
In his first speech in the newly elected Assembly, the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) chief launched a scathing attack on leader of opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu for buying 23 MLAs and 3 MPs of YSRCP when he was in power.
Jagan said "god wrote a beautiful script" by giving Telugu Desam Party (TDP) 23 seats in the Assembly and 3 seats in Lok Sabha. "This is the best example of god giving punishment to those who do injustice," he said.
Stating that he will not indulge in horse trading, the YSRCP chief said if at all he was to admit any legislator from TDP into YSRCP, he will do only after making him resign.
"I was told that if we make 4-5 TDP MLAs defect, that party will lose the post of leader of opposition, but I will not do this because what will be the difference between me and Mr Chandrababu Naidu," said Jagan recalling that Anti-Defection Law and all rules and regulations were thrown to the wind by the previous TDP government.
The second day of the first session of the Assembly saw first war of words between Jagan and Chandrababu Naidu since the reversal of roles.
Jagan, who was the leader of opposition in the previous House, said he was not allowed to speak and TDP government engineered defections by luring his party MLAs with money, positions of power and even cabinet berths.
Taking strong exception to Jagan's remarks, Naidu launched a counter attack by reminding him that his father Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy had defected to Congress after getting elected as MLA on the ticket of Reddy Congress in 1978.
Naidu alleged that Jagan in his very first speech as the Chief Minister had tried to belittle the opposition. Naidu's remarks led to sharp exchanges between the members of treasury and opposition benches.
Jagan led YSRCP to power in the state with a landslide majority. The party won 151 seats in 175-member Assembly.
Interestingly, Jagan's remarks on defections came at a time when main opposition Congress party in neighbouring Telangana is up in arms over merger of 12 of its MLAs with ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) by Assembly Speaker.
The Congress party alleged that Speaker P. Srinivas Reddy did not act on its petitions to disqualify the defectors and when their numbers swelled to 12, he immediately merged them with TRS.
On petitions challenging the Speaker's action, the Telangana High Court on Tuesday issued notices to Speaker and the MLAs who defected to the TRS.