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NETA’S NATTER | WHATSAPP SPYING BEING USED FOR STING OPERATIONS?

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Oct 30, 2022, 12:21 am IST
Updated Oct 30, 2022, 12:21 am IST
Subhani Cartoon
 Subhani Cartoon

Whatsup? Or is it WhatsApp? Scores of TRS leaders, MLAs, and even ministers, had switched to the internet-based app to make their calls. WhatsApp for most part was their preferred way of communication and that too through proxies. TRS leaders who would not think twice taking calls on landlines or on their mobiles when the party came to power in 2014 had since around June 2015 started using WhatsApp, believing that their conversations were secure through the app. This came in the wake of the “cash for vote” scandal involving the then TD MLA A. Revanth Reddy and then AP Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu (that was quickly dubbed “KCR’s sting operation”). Now, the same TRS leaders who were all for that operation are engaged in muted debate about the fallout of “KCR’s sting operation Part-2”. This time around, the gossip is not just about how the operation landed blows on the BJP but about their own security. No longer sure if their phone calls over WhatsApp are secure, jittery TRS leaders have stopped taking calls on WhatsApp. Such is the fear that incoming calls are handed over to assistants for taking messages.

BJP’S POACHGATE UNRAVELLED BY CYBERABAD POLICE

The BJP’s alleged ‘Operation Akarsh’ episode to lure four TRS MLAs into its fold has not only created tremors in political circles but also set off ripples among bureaucrats. The operation was led by the Cyberabad police, who caught the “poachgate” accused red-handed luring TRS MLAs with money, contracts and posts at a farmhouse in Moinabad, raising eyebrows over why such a crucial sting having huge political ramifications was handed over to the law and order police and not the authorities usually entrusted with cases involving bribery. This is in sharp contrast to the sensational “cash for vote” case in 2015 when the operation was led by A.K. Khan. This triggered speculation in bureaucratic circles that Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao has more trust in his top cops and that’s why he assigned this important task to the law and order police.

CM’S SUMMONING OF TOP COPS RAISES EYEBROWS

Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao holding review meetings with officials is a routine administrative affair. But the Chief Minister’s meeting with top police bosses soon after his week-long visit from Delhi on October 19 generated a lot of political discourse. It was for the first time that the Chief Minister had held a meeting with the top police bosses including DGP P. Mahendar Reddy, and the police commissioners C.V. Anand of Hyderabad and Stephen Ravindra of Cyberabad. Also in attendance was chief secretary Somesh Kumar. This triggered a lot of curiosity as to the purpose of the meeting that was convened within minutes after the Chief Minister reached Pragathi Bhavan. Interestingly, when some of the officials did not answer calls initially calling them for the meeting, they received SMSes that read, “A routine meeting after 8 days in Delhi, also asking how things are etc.”

CAST POLITICS IN FULL SWING IN AP

It is well-known that caste plays an important role in politics but when politicians start talking about it, and attack each other, the war of words sometimes tends to cross all forms of decency. Such is the case right now in Andhra Pradesh politics with the TD and the YSRC trading some pretty petty barbs on the subject of caste. With the TD, which in 2019 faced a debacle after losing out the vote from BC communities, now talking about this group of voters by targeting “Reddy Raj” under the YSRC rule, it was not long before the ruling party hit back with some equally harsh talk. It all started with TD’s Nara Lokesh tweeting that the YSRC rule did not prioritise the needs of the BCs. Not stopping there, Lokesh said, “When did Vijaya Sai Reddy, Subba Reddy, Peddi Reddy, Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy become BCs? If these people find justice, does this mean the BCs got justice? It’s all the ‘Reddy’ magic of Jagan.” This prompted YSRC leaders responding with “Pappu we are all Reddys but we are the servants to SCs, STs, minorities, BCs and the poor people among the OCs! There is no problem as long as Reddy remains Reddy, but the problem is only when a Reddy becomes a Kamma!”

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