Vijayawada: Leader of the Opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu dared Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy to prove that Heritage Fresh belongs to him or quit politics after being caught on the wrong foot over the death of an old man in Gudivada in the Assembly.
Earlier, the Telugu Desam made an issue out of the death of an old man dying in a Rythu Bazaar because of cardiac arrest, claiming that he had lost his life while waiting in queue to buy onion at subsidised price. The ruling party, however, came out with a strong rebuttal that the old man did not stand in an onion queue but suffered heart attack while buying vegetables.
Mr Kodali Venkateswara Rao, civil supplies minister, even played a video on the large screens in the House in which the kin of the deceased came out strongly against political parties, in particular TD, trying to capitalise on the death of their relative.
Sensing trouble, Mr Naidu suddenly rose and in a high pitched voice dared the Chief Minister to prove that the firm was owned by him. “I will quit if you prove that Heritage Fresh belongs to my family or else you step down,” Mr Naidu challenged Mr Reddy.
Finance minister Buggana Rajendranath Reddy quickly turned the tables against Mr Naidu by reading out a news item reporting the acquisition of Heritage Fresh by the Future Group. The minister, quoting the item, said Mr Naidu was given his stake in Future Group as part of the sale of Heritage Fresh. The civil supplies minister then challenged if Mr Naidu would quit after his lies over the death of a retired employee in Gudivada were busted.
The TD members, including Mr Naidu, gave a silent burial to the issue by not responding to the challenge, prompting the Speaker to take up debate on farmers’ assurance scheme.
Earlier, the ruling YSRC legislators repeatedly targeted the former CM claiming that his firm Heritage was selling onions at `200 a kg.
Infuriated by the criticism, Mr Naidu made it clear that Heritage Fresh was sold to Future Group. In exchange, they were offered 3.5 per cent shares, which did not belong to promoters, adding that the lock-in period would be over by April.