'Big fat' wedding of Andhra Pradesh Minister's daughter stirs controversy

Last Updated: Sun, Nov 04, 2012 13:00 hrs

Vizianagaram, Andhra Pradesh: Controversy is not new to Andhra Pradesh Transport Minister and state Congress president Botsa Satyanarayana. He had been in the eye of storm on earlier occasions including for alleged liquor mafia activities.

Now, he is accused of abusing his official position for the wedding of his daughter Anusha, a medico, in his native village Vizianagaram on Friday night.

State Governor E S L Narasimhan, Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and several other ministers flew in a special chartered aircraft from Hyderabad while Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and others came from New Delhi for the wedding.

Governors of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, K Rosaiah and H R Bhardwaj, were in attendance along with a host of political bigwigs from the state.

All star hotels in Visakhapatnam, which served as the base camp for the VVIP guests, were booked while a number of SUVs were "seized" by the transport authorities for the service of their boss.

Alleging that the minister has abused his official position for the "lavish wedding", former Union power secretary EAS Sarma wanted to know who had footed the bill.

"There is gross misuse of public authority as well as fund. About 300 VIPs landed here. There were Union ministers, 2 Governors, MPs and the entire state Cabinet. They call it official, but it is all private. And as just now somebody said the taxi owners are forced to give up their vehicles," he said.

Mr Sarma said he has written to the Chief Minister over the lavish conduct of the wedding.

"I have asked is it a democracy or zamindari. I have even marked a copy of the letter to the Governor of Andhra Pradesh. When these (VIPs) people come here for the wedding, shouldn't they pay from their pockets? , he said.

"They have not responded because they think they are not accountable to the public of this country. Either it is PM, PMO of CMO, very rarely I get a reply. The VIPs are not very sensitive about it. They think they can misuse public fund any time," Mr Sarma added.

Meanwhile, a transport official in Visakhapatnam, who was entrusted with the job said, "When there are too many VVIPs, we obviously need vehicles. Hence we hired the vehicles as per practice adopted even during normal VIP visits. In fact, the minister's family itself paid the charges for most of the vehicles,"

However, taxi drivers say they have not been paid any money so far either by transport officials or the Botsa family.

"We were forced to cancel other bookings and be in service of the minister. We would have got Rs. 3000 a day on other bookings but here we are told that we may be paid Rs. 1800 only," some taxi drivers pointed out.

All "official" programmes, which some of the ministers were supposed to attend in Visakhapatnam to "formalise" their visit, stood cancelled on Friday due to the tragic death of former Union Minister K Yerran Naidu.

Some of the ministers visited Nimmada village in Srikakulam district on Friday morning to pay homage to Yerran Naidu after attending the wedding bash last night.

A top district official noted that they had to follow "protocol", even if it was a private function, as Governors, Chief Minister, Union Ministers and state ministers were in attendance.

"Deployment of government staff was done as per protocol requirements. The security had to be obviously high because Vizianagaram falls in the Andhra-Odisha Border zone of the Maoists. We left nothing to chance," the official, who did not wish to be quoted, said.

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