HYDERABAD: The equation between AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and Governor ESL Narasimhan has taken a turn for the worse in just about a year.
If Naidu was okay with the continuation of Narasimhan as Governor in 2014, TDP leaders and even AP ministers are now going for his jugular, publicly passing snide and critical remarks even accusing the Constitutional head of not following the Constitution.
According to sources, soon after Naidu took over as Chief Minister of AP in June, 2014, a senior minister in the NDA government sought his views on the common Governor. As part of the clean-up of the erstwhile UPA regime’s appointees, the minister reportedly told Naidu he could either suggest an alternative choice or leave it to the NDA to decide.
To this, the Chief Minister was said to have preferred continuation of Narasimhan as the latter was familiar with the situation in the undivided State. Therefore, Naidu did not foresee any problem from him even in the divided states of AP and Telangana. Perhaps, Naidu wanted to avoid a stranger in the Raj Bhavan as he himself didn’t have any preferred choice for the gubernatorial position.
Naidu, however, did not make any special effort to keep in touch with the Raj Bhavan subsequently, but TRS leaders maintained a good equation with the Governor, briefing him on a regular basis about major policy decisions the TS government was taking.
According to sources, some sort of gap was also created between Naidu and the Governor over a couple of issues.
Things have turned hot once the cash-for-vote scam surfaced with Naidu and his group of ministers “firmly believing” that the Governor is not on their side. Even as the AP government has officially lodged a complaint with the Centre that phones of several of its important leaders have been tapped, the Governor reportedly told a few AP ministers, who called on him, that he did not believe it was true.
Naidu, it is learnt, is unlikely to give up on his demand that the Governor should be replaced though the NDA government may not act immediately as it would then be seen as a step intended to “protect” its ally.
Claiming that they have gathered enough evidence of phone tapping, senior representatives of the AP government told this newspaper that they would make it public at an “appropriate time” and hoped the Centre would act at that point of time. This, however, depends on further moves by the Telangana government in the cash-for-vote scandal.