Praja Vedika, a public grievance hall adjacent to the residence of former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, was demolished late on Tuesday, June 25. The demolition was ordered by Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy, who claimed the building was "illegal".
The structure was constructed by the previous TDP government in 2017, on the Krishna riverbed, at a cost of Rs 5 crore. It was used by Naidu to hold public meetings, press conferences and conduct administrative work.
The demolition was ordered by Jagan on Monday after holding his government's first Collector's Conference. He said that it will be the last official meeting at the structure.
"Praja Vedika is an illegal structure. It is constructed violating rules. A person of the stature of a Chief Minister had allowed construction of this building. If a CM himself violates rules, imagine the corruption prevailing down the administration?" asked Jagan at the meeting.
"This is the last meeting in this building. After Tuesday's meeting with police officials including Director General of Police (DGP) and others, this building will be demolished. I order officials to demolish the building the very next day of the end of this meeting," he said.
Taking to Twitter, he had called the move an instance of "living by example".
Naidu had written to the state government on June 5 to seek permission for using the Praja Vedika so he could work from there as the Leader of Opposition in the state assembly.
"I wish to continue the same arrangement, that the 'Praja Vedika' be declared as the residence annexe of the leader of the Opposition, to facilitate me to meet legislators, visitors, common public and discharge my duties," the letter said.
He has been staying at the bungalow since the state administration moved from Hyderabad to Vijayawada.
YSRCP MLA Alla Ramakrishna Reddy had said earlier this month that he will make sure that Naidu gets evicted from his residence on the banks of Krishna River and the building is demolished. He had also criticised Naidu for staying in an illegal construction after making tall promises over the construction of capital Amaravati.
The dispute related to the building is currently in the High Court.
A political witch-hunt
Jagan took over the building last Saturday in a move that TDP termed as "vendetta politics" and alleged that the government showed no courtesy to the former CM and that his belongings were thrown out of the building.
Senior TDP leader and former minister Y Ramakrishnudu had termed the government's action in taking possession of Praja Vedika as 'witch-hunting'. "The government has deliberately resorted to this action. If it did not want to give Praja Vedika, it could have communicated the same in writing," he said.
TDP MP Kesineni Srinivas also demanded on Tuesday that the government should demolish private structures first instead of Praja Vedika. He suggested that if the structure is demolished, the government will have to spend money on conferences that are to be conducted.