The political scene in Andhra Pradesh, ahead of the general elections, is whirling around the knife attack on Opposition leader Jaganmohan Reddy at Vizag airport earlier in October 2018. As the National Investigation Agency (NIA) took over the case earlier this week, the TDP has pointed fingers at the BJP led Union government alleging political motives.
While YSRCP and BJP are quick to call TDP's aspersions as a result of fear in CM Chandrababu Naidu, the CM has written a letter to PM Narendra Modi objecting to the assigning of the case to NIA by Ministry of Home Affairs.
Speaking to TNM, TDP national spokesperson Dinakar Lanka said that NIA is being used inappropriately, while stating that the Union government led by Narendra Modi is trying to "undermine the independent agencies" against political opponents in the states.
Dinakar further said that the NIA, which came into force in 2008 to combat terrorist activities across the country and to curb fake and counterfeit currency along with cross-border infiltration, is now abused for political purposes. Dinakar further alleged that the abuse of power shows Modi’s ''duplicitous" nature. He said Modi had strictly objected to the NIA when he was the CM of Gujarat in 2009 alleging that it would sidestep the states.
However, responding to the allegations from TDP quarters and Chandrababu Naidu, Andhra BJP official spokesperson Shyam Kishore responded saying that Naidu is "misdirecting" the people due to fear of losing ground.
Kishore said, "It was following the High Court directions that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) handed over the case to NIA, MHA didn't do it on its own." Kishore alleged that Naidu is trying to politicise every issue. He said, "Naidu should welcome the development instead of opposing it. This is no new initiative. NIA had intervened even after the killings of two TDP leaders including sitting MLA Kidari Sarveshwar Rao," while ruling out allegations of 'collusion' with YSRCP.
YSRCP leader, MLA Sreekanth Reddy told TNM that Naidu wants to do politics with everything. He said that Naidu, who initially stated that the attack was held within the jurisdiction of the Union government, is now scared about a fair investigation. He alleged, "U-turns are not new to him. He is scared of the NIA as the facts would come out and the roles of TDP local leaders would get revealed."
When TNM asked about TDP's accusation of BJP and YSRCP teaming up for "ulterior political motives", he said, "It was we who first moved the no-confidence motion against BJP in parliament, we who fought for states’ rights. TDP is the party which partook in government for four years and came out just before elections."
Sreekanth Reddy further mocked Naidu by saying that he is still looking for a backdoor alliance with RSS faction of the BJP, while projecting himself as an architect of the anti-BJP front by aligning with Congress. However, observers see the whole row over attack on Jagan and the NIA intervention, as merely a mileage game by the BJP and TDP. Observers are also quick to point out these (case landing in NIA basket and TDP aspersions on it) as efforts by both rivals to meet political ends.