HYDERABAD: There is an air of mystery to la affaire Joginapally Santosh Kumar, Rajya Sabha MP and senior TRS leader, the closest aide of party supremo and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, who is his uncle.
Rumours spread thick and fast after his phone was reportedly switched off a few days ago — an unlikely occurrence given that he acts as a bridge between the Chief Minister and the rest of the party as well as with leaders across the country.
The first sign of trouble came in the form of Enforcement Directorate raids and nationwide investigation into the Delhi liquor scam, in which the BJP named TRS MLC K. Kavitha. Subsequently, the ED interrogated Vennamaneni Srinivasa Rao, reportedly related to Santosh and who is involved in several businesses with him.
As the ED interrogation of Srinivas Rao continued and several discomforting facts began to emerge, it is reported that Santosh rushed to the Chief Minister to discuss the matter. The highly confidential discussion reportedly led to the Chief Minister giving Santosh an earful, after which the MP switched off his phone and was not reportedly doing his duty of attending to the Chief Minister.
As word spread in the party, the TRS quickly tried to quell the rumours, saying the scolding was over some trivial issue which led to “an emotionally upset Santosh taking to sulking”.
It was played down as the angry response of a child-like family member, upset over the head of the family giving him a scathing rebuke. It became a big issue because the usually cheerful Santosh, true to his name, has seldom been this unhappy with party matters.
Matters did not get better as the days went on, with Santosh reportedly staying off work and the party for at least three days, when more politically volatile “news” was leaked into the state’s grapevine that feeling cornered and lonely.
Santosh could not be reached for any response, but party leaders, with no clear information over the disappearance of one of the most important conduits of crucial activities of the party and government, are clearly bewildered.
Quelling rumours that he was out of station, another TRS leader said, “Santosh garu is very much in Hyderabad. Maybe he is just a bit unhappy. He will be back soon.”