Promising a corruption-free government in Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister-designate Jagan Mohan Reddy on Sunday said he would initiate a probe into the alleged financial irregularities in the construction of new state capital Amaravati, the Polavaram project and other schemes launched by former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu. Reddy, who is set to take oath as the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh on May 30 in Vijayawada, said a white paper in this regard would be released after reviewing the works of each department in the state. The YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) president also said he would take oath alone and his cabinet would be in place in a week or 10 days.
He further said his priority would be implementing his party's poll promise of "nine large-scale welfare programmes". "I have promised to my people and I have a big responsibility to fulfil those. So, I cannot take any chance. With the blessings of the god, I will work towards that direction. In 50 days after taking oath as chief minister, I will chalk out a plan of action," Reddy told reporters here.
He was in the national capital to call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah to discuss the issue of special category status and financial help to the Rs 2.58 lakh crore debt-ridden state. Asked if his government would probe the alleged irregularities in the construction of the new state capital and other schemes launched by the previous government, Reddy said, "It is a Catch 22 situation. We have to look into the scams.... These are not ordinary scams. They are going to be sensational scams."
He accused Naidu of misleading people about the place where the new capital would come up in order to buy himself land at lower rates. "This is an inside story. This is something like insider trading. He (Naidu) has bought vast expanses of benami land. This scam does not stop there. He forced people to sell under land pooling and exempted his own benami land," Reddy said, adding that he had nothing personal against Naidu.
With regard to the multi-purpose Polavaram project on the Godavari river, he said, "We will probe if there was any scam in the implementation of the project. This project has to be completed as per the timeline and there is no other option." The state did not have the mandate to complete the project but there was a necessity to finish the work, he added.
"If there is a need to involve the central government to call for reverse tenders (for the Polavaram project), that will also be done. We do not mind. All I want is that the Polavaram project should be completed in a time-bound manner," Reddy said. Since the Centre declared it as a national project in 2014, an amount of Rs 11,210 crore has been spent on the Polavaram project. The Centre has reimbursed Rs 6,727 crore to the state government, according to the official data.
The project aims to irrigate 2.91 lakh hectares, generate 960 MW of power, and fulfil the water needs of industries and 540 villages in Andhra Pradesh. Asserting that the YSRCP-led government would be "transparent and corruption-free", Reddy said, "We will not only clean the system and show how it is cleansed, but we will also show how to stop scams."
"We will bring in reverse tendering. If scams are found in a project, we will identify and cancel that work and increase the pre-qualification criteria so that more number of people can participate. We will give projects to those who quote less. Everything will be transparent. We will monitor all projects," he added.
The YSRCP chief said his government will be "revolutionary" and will set an example in the country. "Within six months or a year, I will make sure that this government will stand as an exemplary one in the country. I will ensure that there is no corruption and clean up the entire system," he added.
Asked about the 32 cases lodged against him, Reddy claimed that those were filed by the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Congress, adding that the huge verdict in the Assembly polls in favour of his party was a clear indication that the cases were false. "The cases were filed after my father's (former chief minister, late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy) death and after I left the Congress. The petitioners in the cases are none other than the TDP and the Congress," he said, adding that everyone in Andhra Pradesh knew about it and that's why people had given this verdict.
Reddy's party has won 151 of the 175 Assembly and 22 of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in Andhra Pradesh, the elections for which were held on April 11. Reddy was unanimously elected as the leader of the YSRC Legislature Party on Saturday.