Did Jagan Reddy Build Lavish Palace on Rushikonda Hill? TDP’s New Allegations


Did Jagan Reddy Build Lavish Palace on Rushikonda Hill? TDP’s New Allegations

The recent political landscape in Andhra Pradesh has been shaken by allegations from the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) against the former Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. The TDP claims that Jagan Reddy built an opulent property on Rushikonda Hill in Vishakhapatnam, commonly known as Vizag, for his personal use. This hilltop property, which has been referred to as a “palace on the hill,” has sparked controversy and accusations of misuse of public funds.

 

The Revelation

The property was revealed to the public for the first time on Sunday, following the Andhra Pradesh elections. During these elections, the TDP, led by N Chandrababu Naidu, ousted Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government. The TDP alleges that the property was intended as a camp office for Jagan Reddy, who had declared Vizag as the new capital of Andhra Pradesh.

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TDP’s Accusations

Ganta Srinivas Rao, a TDP Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), led a National Democratic Alliance (NDA) delegation and the media on a tour of the lavish property. This tour left many stunned by the sheer luxury of the “palace on the hill,” which overlooks a beach. The TDP claims that the property was built in secrecy, using public funds amounting to ₹500 crore. They argue that it includes high-end amenities, luxurious furnishings, sparkling chandeliers, and bathtubs, which are not typical of government offices.

 

Coastal Regulatory Zone Clearance

The TDP pointed out that the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) clearance for this project was given by the central government in May 2021. The clearance was for a tourism project to be developed by the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation on Rushikonda Hill. However, TDP’s national general secretary, Nara Lokesh, alleges that Jagan Reddy decided to use this property exclusively as his camp office, diverting the purpose of the project.

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Secrecy and Misuse of Funds

The TDP claims that the construction costs were kept highly confidential and that contracts were awarded to supporters of Jagan’s party. According to Ganta Srinivas Rao, the project was originally launched as a star hotel with a budget of ₹91 crore, with a 15-month deadline. However, ₹95 crore was allegedly spent just on leveling the land, and another ₹21 crore on beautifying the surroundings. To maintain secrecy, 20-foot barricades were erected around the construction site, hiding the activities from public view.

 

Comparison to Historical Figures

Mr. Rao drew comparisons between this property and palaces built by infamous figures like Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein and, more locally, Gali Janardhan Reddy. He argued that the “palace” includes features not typical of tourist properties, such as a large conference hall designed for reviews and meetings. He also claimed that green resorts for tourism, which generated an annual income of up to ₹8 crore, were demolished to make way for this property.

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Allegations of Misleading the Courts

The TDP alleges that the state government misled the courts about the true purpose of the project. Initially, the state government called it a star hotel, then a “CM camp office,” and later a tourism project. Despite these claims, when the project was challenged, a High Court expert committee found several violations, but construction continued regardless.

 

Political Fallout

Following the revelations, the new Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and his deputy Pawan Kalyan stated that they were unaware of what was being built behind the barricades. Ganta Srinivas Rao humorously remarked that “divine intervention” prevented Jagan from using the palace, referring to his election defeat.

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Defense from YSRCP

A leader from Jagan Reddy’s party, former industry minister G Amarnath, denied the allegations that the property was built as a camp office for Jagan using public funds. He stated that the property was intended to host dignitaries such as the Prime Minister and the President, given that Vizag was being designated as the capital city. He insisted it was not meant to be a personal camp office for the Chief Minister.

 

Public Reaction

The public reaction to these revelations has been mixed. Supporters of the TDP see this as evidence of corruption and misuse of public funds by the previous government. They argue that such luxurious spending is inappropriate, especially when it comes at the expense of public resources. On the other hand, supporters of the YSRCP defend the project, stating that it was necessary to have a facility to host high-profile visitors and dignitaries in Vizag, which was being promoted as the new capital.

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Future Implications

The controversy surrounding the “palace on the hill” is likely to have lasting implications for Andhra Pradesh politics. It raises questions about transparency and accountability in government projects. The new government led by Chandrababu Naidu may launch further investigations into the project to determine if there was any wrongdoing. This issue could also become a focal point for future electoral campaigns, with both parties using it to criticize each other’s governance.

 

Conclusion

The allegations against Jagan Mohan Reddy and the construction of the hilltop property in Vizag highlight the complex and often contentious nature of political projects in India. As the new government investigates these claims, it remains to be seen what the long-term impact will be on Andhra Pradesh’s political landscape and public trust in government actions. The story of the “palace on the hill” serves as a reminder of the importance of transparency, accountability, and responsible use of public funds in maintaining the integrity of democratic governance.

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