Political Pickle

Andhra Election : Inspector becomes MP, DSP salutes him

An interesting sidestory to the fiercely fought Andhra election involved two police officers of rather contrasting ranks. One, a former IPS officer whose most high-profile posting was as the Joint Director of the CBI in Hyderabad. The other, a Circle Inspector in Kadiri town in Anantapur district. While VV Lakshminarayana, the more decorated officer had to bite the dust in Visakhapatnam finishing third, Gorantla Madhav is the new MP from Hindupur Lok Sabha constituency.

Madhav’s triumph culminated in the photograph of the election. Deputy Superintendent of Police Mahboob Basha to who Madhav reported to in his khaki avatar, saluted him outside a polling centre after the former CI, almost by force of habit, saluted first. It was a commentary on what people power can do.

Former Circle Inspector Gorantla Madhav (right), the newly elected MP from Hindupur

At the other end of Andhra Pradesh, all eyes were on Lakshminarayana as he had supervised YS Jaganmohan Reddy’s disproportionate assets case during his stint in the CBI. The political grapevine had it that Chandrababu Naidu had prevailed upon Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena to field Lakshminarayana so that the investigating officer’s presence in the electoral fray would ensure the spotlight remained firmly on Jagan’s alleged corruption. But Vizag’s electorate had other ideas and the YSRCP candidate winning the contest meant Jagan had the last laugh.

VV Lakshminarayana on the campaign trail with Pawan Kalyan

The battle in Hindupur was far more filmy, like a Tollywood potboiler. Last year, Madhav had a rather ugly face-off with senior Telugu Desam leader and then MP from Anantapur, JC Diwakar Reddy. The issue was an incident of violence and arson in Chinnapolamada village in Tadipatri (the stronghold of the JC family in Anantapur where Diwakar Reddy’s brother Prabhakar Reddy was the then MLA). Locals had clashed with the residents of an ashram run by controversial religious seer Swamy Prabodhananda and a furious Diwakar Reddy had called the police `eunuchs’ and other derogatory names. Reddy accused the cops of having failed their duty and running away from the scene of violence. 

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In a video that went viral, Madhav in typical Rayalaseema style twirled his moustache and warned that the police will not remain a mute spectator to such comments made by ruling party representatives. He threatened to cut the tongue of those who insult the police force. 

Reddy, never one to pull back his punches, hit back by throwing Madhav a challenge.

“Madhav, I dare you to come without your police uniform. I too will come after removing my khadi shirt. Be it at your home in Kadiri or at the clock tower in Anantapur. Will you come or should I come? I am ready,” dared Reddy.

The YSRCP sensed that here was one public representative who had captured the public imagination by taking on the high and mighty of Anantapur district. It offered Madhav the Lok Sabha ticket from Hindupur (part of Anantapur district). The CI quit the police force in December 2018.

On Thursday, Madhav won the election by a majority of over 1.40 lakh votes. Diwakar Reddy was a picture of contrast as his son JC Pavan Reddy lost the election from Anantapur Lok Sabha seat while his nephew JC Asmith Reddy lost the assembly election from Tadipatri.

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