Saturday, June 25, 2011

TELANGANA 23: Andhra politicians - Politics part-time, Businesses full-time!

India Today carried a report “Andhra Industrialists turning to politics to protect their interests” and reported on the myriad businesses sitting Andhra MPs/MLAs are engaged in, that directly benefit from their positions of power. Besides the well known businesses of YS Jaganmohan Reddy, N Chandrababu Naidu and Lagadapati Rajagopal, the magazine named others mentioned below.
MPs in businesses
T. Subbarami Reddy - heads multi-crore industrial group, Gayatri Group of Industries
Eluru MP Kavuri Sambasiva Rao - owns Progressive Constructions, which is involved in large- scale infrastructure projects across the country.
Guntur MP Rayapati Sambasiva Rao - heads Transtroy Constructions, which is involved in similar multi- crore road projects.
Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy, Congress MP from Ongole, is associated with United Breweries Group and is also chairman of Balaji Hotels, headquartered at Chennai.
Khammam MP N. N. Rao, TDP's parliamentary party leader, owns Madhucon Group of companies - involved in irrigation projects, highways and granite units near Bellary in Karnataka.
Nellore MP Mekapati Rajamohan Reddy and his MLA- brother Mekapati Chandrasekhara Reddy are also big- time contractors in the name of KMC Constructions.
Narasaraopet MP Modugula Venugopal Reddy is associated with Ramky Group, an infrastructure company.
State ministers in businesses
T. G. Venkatesh of Kurnool is a big industrialist who runs Rayalaseema Paper Mills and Rayalaseema Alkalis
Galla Aruna Kumari is the wife of Ramachandra N. Galla, chairman of Amararaja Group of Industries.
MLAs in businesses
Former minister P. Ramachandra Reddy - owns PVR Constructions
Adala Prabhakar Reddy - heads APR Constructions
Balineni Srinivasa Reddy - granite business
Adinarayana Reddy, G. Srikanth Reddy and Gurunath Reddy  - various contracts and sub- contracts in irrigation and road works.
Uninterrupted power to this elite, especially for the MPs who have been around for decades in politics, have emboldened them to bend and break laws, especially in real-estate and government sponsored irrigation and infrastructure projects. They amassed the riches, the very base of which now threatens to be eroded by ‘losing political control’ over the golden goose – Hyderabad. Few days ago, Swaminathan S A Aiyar wrote in The Economic Times:
“Vast amounts of land around Hyderabad have been grabbed in questionable ways. In a new Telengana, many existing landowners — including major industrialists — may lose enormous tracts of land worth thousands of crores. Illegal land grabbing has till now been very lucrative, but may become the kiss of death after Telengana’s creation. All Indians love land, but in Andhra Pradesh it is a veritable passion . Coastal Andhras have engaged in an orgy of land speculation in the last decade. This passion for land ultimately caused the fall of Ramalinga Raju of Satyam: He lost his company because of his forays into real estate, through Maytas and other channels.
Only yesterday, TEHELKA carried an article saying  "The Congress core committee is caught between the melodrama of the Telangana faction and the hardened business interests of the united Andhra faction that is staunchly opposing dividing the state. One of them is Kavuri Samba Siva Rao who heads a construction company with major investments in Hyderabad."
About ‘Inefficient’ Telangana leadership and ‘Efficient’ Andhra leadership
Again, I heard the same argument that the ‘backwardness’ of Telangana is because of the ‘inefficiency’ of its political leadership. So, conversely the argument says that the Andhra leadership is ‘efficient’.  While this is a very superficial and silly argument at best and a purely chauvinistic statement at the worst, now that it is so oft repeated, I ponder it over. Below are some questions, some of the ‘efficient’ leaders (read ‘those who oppose Telangana’) put up in Loksabha. 
Conflict of interest of Andhra MPs:
According to India Today's article 'Business of the Day', here are some of the questions the Andhra MPs posed in Lok Sabha and how the queries are intended to directly benefit their private businesses.
Sambasiva Rayapati Rao MP from Guntur asks “Whether the NHAI has recently sought comments of various stakeholders on hybrid models to implement highway projects. If so, the details thereof along with the views of the various parties involved.
Mr. Rao owns the Jayalakshmi Group of companies which deals in tobacco, yarn, export of spices, production of electricity and construction of roads.
Kavuri Sambasiva Rao MP from Eluru asks “Whether the Government proposes to empower the NHAI to extend working capital loans to road developers to help them tie over credit crunch and maintain speedy implementation of road projects.
Mr Kavuri as a builder is engaged in construction of major projects on irrigation, road, power and multi-storied urban housing complexes.
Rajagopal Lagadapati MP from Vijayawada asks “Whether the Central Government proposes to give some concessions to small power units generating 25 MW of power. If so, the details thereof; and if not, the reasons for not giving concessions.
Mr Rajagopal  is the founder chairman of the Lanco Group which has interests in construction, power and property business. Member of CoPU, his Group's client list includes the NHAI.
Naama Nageswara Rao MP from Khammam asks “Whether the Government proposes to start eight-lane access control express highways. If so, the details thereof along with the locations where the expressways are proposed, state-wise and national highway-wise.
Mr Rao is Non-executive chairman of Madhucon, his Group has the NHAI and Indian Oil Corporation on its client list. He is also a member of the Committee on Public Undertakings.
Well, if this and the skill showed by YSRs and Chandrababus in building business empires is ‘efficiency’, neither Telangana nor anyone in the rest of India would seek it. They are better off being ‘inefficient’.
How a larger state benefited the plutocrats
The real conflict of interest for these MLAs/MPs come not just when they ask questions that directly benefit their businesses but when they sit on the parliament’s standing committees related to finance, business and industry. As per the parliament’s website, these committees are supposed to be a path-breaking endeavour of the Parliamentary surveillance over administration. With the emphasis of their functioning to concentrate on long-term plans, policies and the philosophies guiding the working of the Executive, these Committees will be in a very privileged position to provide necessary direction, guidance and inputs for broad policy formulations and in achievement of the long-term national perspective by the Executive. So here are the businessmen sitting on the same committees that frame ‘policies and philosophies’ that guide their businesses. This is worse than stock market insider trading!

As of now, Kavuri Sambasiva Rao, Rayapati Sambasiva Rao, Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy, KVP Ramachandra Rao, Nama Nageshwara Rao named above are all on the parliamentary standing committees on Finance, Estimates, Public undertakings, Industry etc and at the same time they are 'on record' running businesses related to same areas/sectors. The conflict of interest in case of these members is so glaring that, in the past, chairman of one such committee seem to have  asked them why they should not be asked to withdraw from certain meetings, as the issue on the agenda was directly related to their business.

Every time there is a cabinet expansion, there is a hue and cry in media about how Andhra Pradesh is ‘discriminated’ against in its share of ministries. The point is that the MPs in question are enjoying it better on these committees milking them for their own businesses. And looking at the membership in these committees, AP got more than its share. In fact these politicians are leveraging the power of coming from a state that is producing 42 MPs purely to amass riches for themselves. They fear a demerger would end that clout and they would be left without any bargaining power to sit on these committees.
And folks who argue how ‘efficient’ Andhra political leadership is should wonder why none of them bothered to be on board of 21 member Lok Sabha standing committee or the 10 member Rajya Sabha committee on Agriculture, especially when a huge percentage of Andhras are employed in Agriculture.
Will the Andhra plutocrats let go of Telangana?
Highly unlikely. it is clear they are trying every trick in the book. They have previously successfully blackmailed the top leadership of BJP and now are doing the same with Congress, with their money bags. Only an uncompromising fight on part of Telangana advocates will force the central leadership of Congress to yield to the demand. It would happen only if the power of masses gets more threatening than the moneybags.

22 comments:

Sujai said...

Great Article. Nice one. Kudos!

Madhav said...

Dude!! Amazing analysis and absolutely "an eye opener" insight into these ever greedy plutocrats. May be it would do more good to the cause if the list included MPs and MLAs from every region of today's Andhra Pradesh. I have been a silent appreciator of your work thru' out. Keep up the good work partner. Don't stop your voice against these atrocities.

Konatham Dileep said...

Bang on target. We need to thoroughly expose this business of 'Samaikyandhra Pradesh"

Madhav Mudumbai said...

Amazing how you pick a topic and expand to give it a shape you give. In Management terms being efficient is 'doing things right' and bing effective is 'doing right things right'. In this context Andhra politicians are definitely efficient, but not effective. Telangana leaders on the other hand are in-effective, and fortunately they are inefficient as well! Your articles really smack of an experienced journo, Amar.

Sid said...

Amar,thanks for pulling this together. This should be an eye-opener for many- both Andhrites and Telanganites alike, who still do not see any problem in "unified Andhra Pradesh".
We should share this in as many forums as possible.
Let us see if we can translate this to Telugu too and share it.

Faarooq said...

Khammam is a part of Telangana and Nama Nageshwara Rao has hard Earned money unlike andhra politicians.

Madhav said...

Brilliant and illuminating analysis ! Your penchant for investigation and research is fabulous !

However, I have one question - What makes you think that these politicians will not gel well with newly formed Telangana state politicians and continue their loot?

Vamsi said...

Nice article Amar.

Almost every politician works on their personal agenda rather than pubic agenda.

I can argue that Telangana politicians are supporting separate state for their own political growth as they can't win if they oppose.

I came across this definition from RGV about public opinion; it is not exactly public opinion, but what
public thinks about what public opinion is. funny, but I agree with him :)

If Telangana's MPs have powerful businesses I am 100% sure that they would have also worked against demerger irrespective of what Telangana (or Andhra) public need.

Most of the Andhra people are also not in favor of separate Telangana though they do not have much to lose/gain with/with out Telangana..

@Farooq, is Nama's money hard earned just because he belongs to Telangana ;)

Amar said...

@ Madhav
/ What makes you think that these politicians will not gel well with newly formed Telangana state politicians and continue their loot?/

You need more than 'geling well' to continue vice-like grip on resources of a state.You need real power and that is why they are resisting the demerger. If the new state is formed, there would be rush among T politicians to 'match up' with these plutocrats. They are already getting ambitious!

The real challenge for Telanganas in that scenario would be to continue to force these T politicians, as they do now, according to public aspirations.

Amar said...

@Vamsi,
/Almost every politician works on their personal agenda rather than pubic agenda../

Precisely my point! This post is an answer to the oft-repeated argument that Andhra politicians are somehow 'efficient' and their T counterparts are not.

/If Telangana's MPs have powerful businesses I am 100% sure that they would have also worked against demerger irrespective of what Telangana (or Andhra) public need../
Correct (In fact there are already a few wannabe plutocrats who are doing that).

Having said that, you should now ask why despite our corrupt political scenario, there are no T politicians who wield that kind of power after 60 years of merger. the answer is simple, T politicians never tasted 'real' power. You see lackeys from T of these plutocrats as home ministers and deputy CMs. Ironically, that is the same reason why Telangana's woes came to this pass - that it never really had its say in the matters.

Amar said...

@Vamsi,

/I can argue that Telangana politicians are supporting separate state for their own political growth as they can't win if they oppose./

I don't dispute that. I am not one of those chauvinists who believe people/politicians of one region are inherently good or bad compared to others. But you can not compare all too public 'political growth' ambition of a T politician to a blatant loot of a Andhra businessman politician!

/Most of the Andhra people are also not in favor of separate Telangana though they do not have much to lose/gain with/with out Telangana../
Andhra people also do not like corruption, do not like getting raw deals in railway budgets year after year. Is something happening on that front? But Bingo, state's demerger would stop just like that, even after central government's decision, even after an announcement in parliament, even after a strong public wave in elections and in general. Why?

Amar said...

@farooq,

The hard-earned money part may be from his initial career as a pure businessman in projects mainly in North India, before he entered politics. He just has had IT raids after a significant decrease in the taxes he paid in last 2 years.

Amar said...

@ Sujai, Madhav, Dileep, Sid.

Thanks guys

Vamsi said...

//T politicians never tasted 'real' power. //

Is this all about power and consequences of that power?

//state's demerger would stop just like that, even after central government's decision....why?//

I understand from andhra plutocrats perspective, but from a normal andhra person. Can you throw some light here?

Vamsi said...

I understand from andhra plutocrats perspective, but *not* from a normal andhra person's perspective. Can you throw some light here? why would he stop Telangana?

Anonymous said...

Nice one!

Well, need to accept that the plight of Telangana is majorly due to the politicians ...ofcourse a bunch of them ... because they cheated everytime people believed them ... and some don't mind playing the second fiddle to the main destructors... all they want is a post what if they don't enjoy the 'real' power ... people are still believeing them itself shows the need for Telangana state ..this time, cheating can't be an option for them !

Telangana is too complex an issue to be understood in simple terms like "backwardness", "inefficient politicians" etc ... in simple terms, it's a a case of imperialism !

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krishnachaitanya said...

"I understand from andhra plutocrats perspective, but *not* from a normal andhra person's perspective. Can you throw some light here? why would he stop Telangana? "

I would answer your query why a common man from Andhra will stop Telangana

1. From the last 40 years , people born in Andhra side never know that there was a agitation for state merger or demerger . They were brought up with the mind set that AP is there state and now all of sudden , an agitation starts saying the state should divided .
Accepting that is not that easy .

2 . A normal Andhra person is not able to understand what harm he did to a Telangana guy . I being from a small village called Chillakur in Nellore District , born as Higher Caste Reddy but unfortunately born in a poor family did not see any Super benefit for being a Andhra Guy . I studied in a small school , studied hard for more than 15 hrs a day to get a free seat in a Engineering college . Even in getting a Job ,my upbringing did not give me much Communication skills which resulted for 1 year struggle for Getting a JOb . No one gave a Job in Hyderabad or any other place saying that i am from Andhra Region . I had friends from Telangana side in Intermediate ,Engineering and even in Job . There were far better off than me moneywise, intelligence .. So i am really not able to understand what a normal Andhra Guy did to a Telangana guy .

3. Our political leaders for what ever person be it there political or monetary developed only Hyderabad . Hyderabad holds most of the AP's revenue , development , education , jobs etc ..Communication skills are very important to get a Job ..Apart from hyderabad , can u say any other place in AP where my son tomorrow can get that . Wont he become a non local to Telangana state then .

4. Assuming none of the above matters , and the state is divided . Telangana which will hold power over hyd wont be having any problem in running the state .. Can the newly formed Andhra give promotions to all the Govt employees with the tight budget it will hold . (Assuming Funds from center will be used to develop infrastructure in new city) . Wont the newly formed State Govt Collect extra taxes in order to develop new City or to run the new Govt . Wont it fall on the common man at the end of the day .

I would as a common will support Telangana after the Govt at Center or state develop a new Capital , solve the fears of people . Until then Andhra side people will be agitated and worried only .

Vamsi said...

@krishnachaitanya,

what(or who) is stopping you from living in hyd? You can stay anywhere , can't you? There may be a little insecurity at the time of the division, but fears are baseless!!

krishnachaitanya said...

@Vamsi , i can live in Hyd . I am not sure whether living in hyd will make my child a local to get a seat in Engineering colleges immediately. I think he should hold a intermediate degree in that state to get a seat in Enigeering college in that state ,else he will be treated as non-local. Leave about people who can stay in Hyd. But still , what about all the other intermediate college kids from Andhra side who are working hard to get in to good college . Wont they become non-locals once the new college is formed .

And ur statement "Fears are baseless" .. Haha , a common man lives in fear dude . Fear of losing the job , fear of running a family , fear of raising prices .. Fear is what drives a common man . Either u should be a reckless man or a wealthy man not to have fear . As i said fear of not knowing what will happen if we loose hyderabad will not allow a normal Andhra common guy to support Telangana (leaving about the Topic whether Telangana is really needed )

I dont understand what a business man from Andhra region will lose in Hyd if Telangana is formed . The lands are on his name , even if the new state is formed , the lands are still going to be on his name . Assume that a north Indian as purchased a land in Hyd , it is still going to be with him right after the new state is formed ?? .If not then there is lot to worry for a common man from Andhra region who has houses or a land in Hyderabad or telangana region which he has purchased with his life long savings .

Vamsi said...

ofcourse, the lands belong to the owners. Period.

Regarding colleges, students who study inter in non T region are alreay non-local to T, they have to be in top 15% of open quota to get into T region college (not sure about exact %s, or donations make any difference)

Regarding fears, I meant there need not be new fears..