Political Storm Brews Over Alleged “Palace on Hill” Built by Jagan Reddy in Vizag

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  • TDP alleges former Andhra Pradesh CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy built a lavish palace on Rushikonda Hill in Vizag using public funds.
  • The palace, on a 9.88-acre site overlooking the beach, allegedly cost ₹500 crore from the state treasury, approved initially as a tourism project in May 2021 under Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) clearance.
  • TDP’s national general secretary, vehemently criticized the construction, asserting that Jagan Reddy repurposed the project from a tourism initiative to a personal camp office.
  • The luxurious features of the Rushikonda palace, such as lavish furnishings and spacious conference halls, evoke comparisons to palatial residences of past dictators and wealthy individuals.
  • Adding fuel to the controversy, the TDP accused the Jagan Reddy government of demolishing existing green resorts that were generating substantial revenue to make way for the palace.
  • Jagan Reddy’s spokesperson denied misuse of public funds, stating the property was meant for hosting dignitaries visiting Vizag, slated to be Andhra Pradesh’s new capital.
  • The Rushikonda palace controversy could significantly impact state politics, shaping public opinion and future elections amid increasing scrutiny and investigations.

A recent revelation by the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has ignited a political firestorm in Andhra Pradesh, alleging that former Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy oversaw the construction of a lavish palace atop Rushikonda Hill in Vishakhapatnam (Vizag) using public funds. The opulent property, shrouded in secrecy behind towering barricades until now, has sparked widespread controversy due to its luxurious amenities and the clandestine manner in which it was built.

Led by MLA Ganta Srinivas Rao, the TDP organized a media tour of the hilltop “palace” over the weekend, revealing what they claim was intended to be Jagan Reddy’s exclusive camp office. Situated on a sprawling 9.88-acre site overlooking the picturesque beach, the palace reportedly cost ₹500 crore from the state treasury, despite initially being approved as a tourism project under Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) clearance granted in May 2021.

Nara Lokesh, TDP’s national general secretary, vehemently criticized the construction, asserting that Jagan Reddy repurposed the project from a tourism initiative to a personal camp office. He condemned the lack of transparency surrounding the expenditures and alleged that contracts were awarded to cronies of Jagan’s YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), raising concerns about favoritism and misuse of public funds.

The opulent features of the Rushikonda palace, including lavish furnishings, spacious conference halls, and other luxurious amenities, have drawn stark comparisons to palatial residences of past dictators and wealthy individuals. Ganta Srinivas Rao likened it to Saddam Hussein’s extravagant palaces and those built by Gali Janardhan Reddy, emphasizing its grandeur unfit for a public tourism project.

Adding fuel to the controversy, the TDP accused the Jagan Reddy government of demolishing existing green resorts that were generating substantial revenue to make way for the palace. They further alleged that despite initial claims of the project being a modest star hotel with a budget of ₹91 crore, costs ballooned due to exorbitant expenditures on land leveling and beautification, all concealed behind 20-foot barricades.

Legal hurdles and objections raised against the construction were reportedly circumvented, with accusations of violations flagged by a High Court expert committee allegedly disregarded to facilitate uninterrupted building.

In response to the allegations, a spokesperson from Jagan Reddy’s party refuted any misuse of public funds, clarifying that the property was intended to host high-profile dignitaries visiting Vizag, which was slated to become Andhra Pradesh’s new capital. Former industry minister G Amarnath emphasized that it was never designated as a permanent CM camp office but rather as a facility for accommodating visits by national leaders.

The timing of these revelations, coming on the heels of Jagan Reddy’s electoral defeat by Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP, adds significant political weight to the allegations. The unveiling of the Rushikonda palace has become a focal point in Andhra Pradesh’s political landscape, stirring debates over governance transparency, accountability, and the appropriate use of public resources.

As investigations and public scrutiny intensify, the controversy surrounding the Rushikonda palace could have profound implications for state politics, influencing public opinion and shaping future electoral dynamics. The outcome of this unfolding saga is poised to impact the credibility of political leadership in Andhra Pradesh and may redefine standards of accountability in the utilization of state funds for monumental projects.

(With inputs from agencies)

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