The Andhra Pradesh Assembly witnessed noisy scenes yesterday afternoon over the allocation of prime land to the N T Rama Rao Trust for housing the state headquarters of the ruling Telugu Desam Party.
There were sharp exchanges between Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and the opposition Congress members. At one stage, Congress members rushed to the treasury benches and almost manhandled labour Minister T Srinivas Yadav.
Earlier, the leader of the Congress group, P Janardhan Reddy, uprooted the mike on his table in an expression of anger and there were frequent exchanges between the Congress members and speaker Y Ramakrishnudu at the podium.
Calm returned only after the Congress walked out of the House.
The trouble was sparked off during the zero hour when P Janardhan Reddy was allowed by the speaker to make some references to the leasing out of a prime government land to the NTR Trust, brushing aside the Chief Ministers stand that the matter was sub-judice.
Reddy said the prime land at Banjara Hills, measuring 3,981 sq metres was reserved by the Hyderabad Urban Development Authority (HUDA) for a shopping complex. But the government transferred the land to a newly started N T Rama Rao Trust and a building to house the TDP office was coming up on it.
The land value was Rs 13 crore.
When Janardhan Reddy alleged that Naidu was the life trustee of the Trust and engineered the transfer to grab the prime land, TDP members interrupted him and charges were exchanged between the two sides.
This was signal for the Congress members to rush to the podium and allege that the Labour Minister, Srinivasa Yadav, was gesticulating and challenging Reddy to go outside the House to settle scores.
In the melee, Reddy uprooted the mike on his table even as angry Congress members rushed towards the treasury benches to manhandle Yadav. However, members of other parties intervened and the Congress members resumed their seats.
There was again trouble when the legislature affairs minister described the uprooting of the mike as gross misbehaviour and demanded that the member should either tender an unconditional apology or should be suspended. Leaders of the different parties in the House concurred with the Ministers views.
After Reddy had regretted his action, the Chief Minister explained that it was normal for Trusts to be formed and political party offices located in their buildings.
He said the agreement with the Trust provided for the payment of an annual rent of Rs 90,000 which will be increased by 10 % at intervals of every five year.
He cited the example of the Congress headquarters in the State being located in a Trust building on an annual rental of Rs 66
with the party not paying even this paltry sum since 1993. In New Delhi, 13 Government bungalows were in possession of the Congress or its front organisations while a prime land on Raisina Road was given to a Trust for the headquarters of the AICC.
When the Chief Minister started referring to the Rajiv Gandhi Trust at Sriperumbadur in Tamilnadu, Congress members protested and walked out of the House.