2015 Cash for Vote Scam

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The 2015 cash-for-votes scam was a political scandal, the second scandal of its kind since the 2008 cash-for-votes scandal. The 2015 political scandal started off when the Telugu Desam Party Leaders of Telangana state were caught in a video footage, aired in the media, offering bribes to a nominated MLA for his vote in the 2015 elections of the Telangana Legislative Council. The Telugu Desam MLA Revanth Reddy was arrested by the Telangana Police when he was offering Rs. 50 lakhs to the nominated MLA Elvis Stephenson. Reddy was then presented before the court of justice and sent to jail. Similarly, the phone conversation, which was quoted as the voice of N. Chandrababu Naidu, the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, with the same nominated MLA was aired in the news media.[1][2]

The Telugu Desam party alleged that the scandal, was a political vendetta, doctored by the Telangana State Government under the direction of K. Chandrashekhar Rao, the Chief Minister of Telangana, alongside the YSR Congress Party. [3] In a further development, The High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad for the States of Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana, granted bail to Revanth Reddy and two other co-accused due to lack of substantial evidence.[4]

Background[edit]

Events and allegations[edit]

The elections for the Council of Telangana Assembly were initiated and the notification for six upper house seats were released. Five candidates from TRS, one from Congress and one from Telugu Desam got ready to contest the elections. The Telugu Desam and allied BJP together does not have enough votes to win the contest. Then the news came out that they were trying to get votes from other parties. The Party President Chandrababu Naidu conducted meetings to analyze this matter, based on his suggestion the TDP Party Leaders got into action. The rival parties have sensed that they are attempting to lure their MLA’s, so the respective party leaders became cautious. In this process a high drama took place at Stephenson’s place. The TDP MLA Revanth Reddy [5] met Stephenson with the help of an aide. Following Revanth’s suggestion this aide tried to deliver Rs.50 lakh currency bundles. The videos of Revanth Reddy during this transaction turned out to be critical and aired on TV News channels.

Revanth Reddy conversation[edit]

The video recording shows that Revanth Reddy spoke several matters with Stephenson. He mentioned that he is the active leader in Telangana and also said that his ‘Boss’ assigns crucial matters only to him. He assured that everything will be taken care by Boss. And mentioned that he reported about money matter. He stressed that everything is done based on Boss instruction. Authorities arrested Revanth Reddy and later the video was telecasted in media. Everyone understood that when a Party MLA refers someone as ‘Boss’ repeatedly, it may be none otherthan the Party President Chandrababu Naidu.[6]

Stephenson arguments[edit]

As per the arguments of nominated MLA Stephenson, it is coming to know that Chandrababu was the one who doctored the entire episode. The sequential events began on May 28 when one by name Mattaiah met Stephenson.[7] This Mattaiah tried to offer cash in regard to MLC elections. But, Stephenson approached ACB authorities believing that it is unethical. Later Sebastian, another person from TDP and after him Revanth Reddy entered the course of events. On May 30 Sebastian along with Revanth Reddy went straight to Stephenson’s residence to negotiate the deal. The duo told him that a secret meeting with Chandrababu will be arranged. The same day evening they made him speak to Chandrababu over phone. Chandrababu assured him that he will take care of everything and mentioned that his persons informed him about the deal. He then assured him that the promises will be honored. The next day i.e., on May 31 Revanth Reddy along with his aides met Stephenson with cash. The ACB Authorities who were already on alert arrested Revanth Reddy.

Alleged Chandrababu Naidu's (Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh) role[edit]

When the Telugu Desam MLA Revanth Reddy got arrested everyone’s attention fell on the party’s activities. Already in Andhra Pradesh the Telugu Desam Party is facing allegations that it has bought several MPS, independent MLAs, local body leader, primarily in the Zilla parishad and mandal parishad elections, that the party has bribed MPTCs and ZPTCs to win Mandal president and ZP chairperson. Is it moving ahead with the same strategy in Telangana?, was the suspicion that spread out. In the meanwhile an audio tape came into light, stating that Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Mr.Chandrababu Naidu [8] spoke to Stephenson. Based on what was aired in the TV news channels, Chandrababu Naidu had a phone conversation [6] with Stephenson which contains the message,** our men told me everything, I will look into your matter, promises will be honoured, I am with you, don’t bother, we will work together.

Attempts to sidetrack the issue[edit]

The Telugu Desam party has started damage control measures to handle the repeated broadcasting of the conversation in the TV news channels. To begin with, Chandrababu went to Delhi and met the top cadre leaders.[9] There was no favorable response from them, the Central Law Minister announced that they will not interfere in this matter. Governor Narsimhan also traveled to Delhi to submit a report on this matter. Outraged by this move the TDP Ministers and leaders started abusing the Governor; this became a hot topic of discussion. In the meanwhile the Telugu Desam aggravated emotions and anger throughout the State stating that this is a matter of prestige and dignity of Andhra Pradesh. They did propaganda that there is no safety to Andhra people in Hyderabad and demanded that Section-8 must be implemented in Hyderabad which was a common capital. To some extent this was successfully driven into the public. Surprisingly there is no word on Section-8 after the so believed truce accorded between two ruling parties.

Chandrababu Naidu's course of action[edit]

The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu took this seriously as discussions on this issue was propagating throughout the State. He focused all his attention on this matter for several days and conducted meetings and reviews with Police higher officials. He immediately sacked the then intelligence chief Mrs.Anuradha for failing to grab information about telangana ACB plans. The word spread rapidly that the chief initiator behind this scandal was Telugu Desam President Chandrababu Naidu after the arrest of Telugu Desam MLA Revanth Reddy in Cash for Vote [10] scandal. Though it is a matter concerned to the Party, Chandrababu took it as a matter of the Andhra Pradesh Government and deployed the government authorities to handle the issue.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rahul, U. (8 June 2015) TV channel airs Naidu-MLA ‘tape’. The Hindu
  2. ^ U. Sudhar Reddy (8 June 2015) TV channels telacast AP CM Chandrababu Naidu’s call to MLA Elvis Stephenson. Deccanchronicle.com. Retrieved on 18 June 2016.
  3. ^ "Cash-for-vote case explained: Poll, alleged bribe, an audio clip". The Indian Express. 10 June 2015.
  4. ^ V Rishi Kumar. "Revanth Reddy gets bail; ACB set to approach Supreme Court". The Hindu Business Line.
  5. ^ "Cash-for-vote Scam: TDP MLA Revanth Reddy Gives Murky Twist to MLC Poll". The New Indian Express.
  6. ^ a b Uma Sudhir (7 June 2015). "Cash-for-Vote Case: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu in Controversy Over Alleged Phone Call". NDTV.com.
  7. ^ "Stephenson reveals about cash-for-vote deal". ap7am.com.
  8. ^ "Cash-for-vote case: Leaked tape recordings hit Chandrababu Naidu where it hurts most". Firstpost.
  9. ^ "Cash-for-vote scam: Amid controversy, Chandrababu Naidu meets Narendra Modi". Deccan Chronicle.
  10. ^ "Cash for vote case: 10 reasons why TDP has no takers in its battle with TRS". Firstpost.