VV Lakshminarayana rethinks his move to join Telugu Desam

YSRC’s prospects in AP, Naidu’s rivalry with BJP upset plans.

Hyderabad: It was almost certain that former CBI joint director V.V. Lakshminarayana was all set to join the Telugu Desam (TD), but the former IPS officer is now said to be debating whether he should join the party which is engaged in a bitter battle with the BJP-led NDA at the Centre and Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSR Congress back home.

Mr Lakshminarayana had made known his intention to join politics long ago, and has had hectic backroom negotiations with politicians of various parties, particularly the TD. But now, he is said to be making further political calculations, especially in the wake of reports that the YSR Congress may have an edge over the TD in the forthcoming AP elections, and that the BJP could return to power at the Centre.

The Maharashtra cadre IPS officer had taken voluntary retirement last year to take the plunge into state politics but has since kept his cards close to his chest on whether he would float his own party or join either the TD or the BJP.

Now, at the last minute, he is said to be in a dilemma about his political future, though sources say he is determined to take the political plunge anyway.

While his frequent visits to Hyderabad and Amaravati, even while in service, and his meetings with a few top TD leaders, were an open secret, it was believed that Mr Lakshminarayana may end up launching his own party in AP and was being prepped to take on Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan.

Sources say that Mr Lakshminarayana seems to have been caught in the changing political equations in the state — beginning from the time the TD withdrew from the NDA at the centre, to the time the relationship between the TD and Jana Sena soured.

At that time the idea put before Mr Lakshminara-yana was that he would take on Mr Pawan Kalyan to split the Kapu votes in AP, most of whom are sailing with Pawan Kalyan.

With TD chief and AP CM N. Chandrababu Naidu repeatedly attacking the Centre on a host of issues, and the saffron party in turn hitting back at the TD, — which has taken the rivalry between both parties to an all-time high, and adding to this the fact that the YSR Congress sees Mr Lakshmi-narayana as the enemy No. 2 (Naidu being their enemy No. 1), may form the next state government — the former CBI joint director is reconsidering his decision to join the TD, say sources.

Their argument is based on the theory that if Jagan Mohan Reddy of the YSRC comes to power in AP and the BJP at the Centre, Mr Lakshminarayana could be victimised to no end and this, sources say, is now his primary concern.

As the joint director of the CBI, it was Mr Lakshmina-rayana who headed the investigation into the alleged disproportionate assets case involving YSRC chief Jagan Mohan Reddy that eventually led to Mr Reddy’s arrest.

Ever since, Mr Lakshmi-narayana enjoys a decent following among sections of the people who see him as an anti-corruption crusader and a no-nonsense person.

On the other hand, the TD wants to cash in on the fact that Mr Lakshminarayana probed Mr Reddy in the alleged disproportionate assets case, and use this aspect to corner Mr Reddy and his party leaders.

On Tuesday, as reports of Mr Lakshminarayana joining the TD emerged, YSR Congress leaders were quick to take on both Mr Lakshminarayana and Chief Minister Naidu, saying that the “malafide nexus” betw-een the two was exposed. For back then, Mr Reddy and his party colleagues had accused Mr Lakshminarayana of being a TD agent, something the YSRC will latch on to, in case the former IPS officer chooses to join Mr Chandrababu Naidu’s party.

Besides the Jagan Mohan case, Mr Lakshminarayana investigated the high profile Satyam case, and the chopper crash that killed the then Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy.

Contacted by DC, Mr Lakshminarayana said he would make his plans known at an appropriate time and refused further comment. “'There is confusion in the media,” he said when asked whether he would be joining the Telugu Desam.

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