Hyderabad: The ruling Telangana Rashtriya Samiti or TRS has won five of six legislative council seats for which elections were held today in Telangana. The Congress won one.
But it was the Telugu Desam Party of Chandrababu Naidu, which managed to win no seat, that made the headlines after Revanth Reddy, a party lawmaker was caught on camera allegedly offering Rs 50 lakh in bribe to buy the vote of another lawmaker Elvis Stephenson, for his party.
Elvis Stephenson, a nominated member of the legislative assembly, called in the police and helped set up a sting operation.
Mr Reddy and two others have been arrested; the lawmaker was remanded to judicial custody and will spend at least tonight in Chanchalguda jail, since his bail plea will be heard only tomorrow.
Political rivals say party chief Mr Naidu, the chief minister of neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, must shoulder some blame too. On tapes released, Mr Reddy purportedly makes repeated references that seem to suggest that his boss authorised the alleged bribing of Mr Stephenson.
On an audio video recording done at an apartment in Secunderabad on Sunday afternoon, Mr Revanth Reddy's aide Uday Simha places a bag by the side of Revanth reddy and takes out wads of currency, that he places on a centre-table between reddy and Stephenson. ''How much is it,'' Mr Stephenson asks, to which mr Revanth reddy answers, ''50 lakh rupees. Four and half more will be delivered tomorrow wherever you want through someone,'' he explains.
''Four and a half what,''asks Mr Stephenson.
''Five crore rupees, the amount you asked for. I had to convince boss,'' Mr Revanth answers.
In earlier meetings, reddy is seen telling mr Stephenson that he could come and meet Chandrababu Naidu around midnight, and no one wd know. ''Boss has authorised me,'' he boasts.
"Chandrababu Naidu planned it. Revanth Reddy is just an instrument. After examining and investigating the video and other evidence we will take action," alleged Etela Rajender of the TRS, and who is Telangana's finance minister.
In the Assembly today, granted permission to vote in the election by court, Mr Reddy got a hero's welcome from TDP lawmakers and those of partner BJP.
The TDP has alleged that Mr Reddy is a victim of a conspiracy hatched by chief minister K Chandrasehkhara Rao of the TRS. "It is a plot which was directed and executed by CM KCR. One hour before, he announced to his MLAs and ministers that there is going to be a breaking news soon, how did he know?'' asked TDP MLA Rajender Reddy.
It had earlier alleged that the TRS was attempting to lure away MLAs of the TDP and the Congress.
Even today's results are an indication of the kind of horse-trading that has been going on for months now. The Trs had won only 63 seats but lured five TDP mlas, four congress mlas, two bsp and two YSR congress mlas each. They also got the support of seven MIM mlas and independents, adding up to 85 Mla votes. So they managed to win five seats. The congress, though they also lost mlas to the Trs , still had 18 MLAs and therefore candidate Akula Lalita sailed through.