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Dalit TDP MP expelled; no action against errant millionaire MP

Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad | July 24, 2008 15:47 IST

The expulsion of Telugu Desam Party Member of Parliament and Dalit leader M Jagannatham � who defied the party whip and voted for the United Progressive Alliance during the trust vote � is turning into a caste-related issue. That is because the TDP has taken no action against Chittoor MP and liquor baron Aadikesavulu Naidu, who also voted for the UPA.

"I have been singled out and targeted because I am not a rich person. The party has not taken any action against Aadikesavulu. Is it because he is a millionaire and arranges helicopter for (TDP chief) Chandrababu Naidu [Images] whenever asked to," Jagannatham alleged after his expulsion.

The party sources said that action was taken against Jagannatham because there were witnesses who saw him pressing the green button �signaling his support for the UPA � during the trust vote. But Aadikesavulu did not press any buttons on the electronic machine; he used a slip to vote.

"The party is trying to verify the record of the Lok Sabha to find out who Aadikesavulu has voted for. If it is proved that he has voted in favour of the UPA, we will take action against him," said a senior TDP leader.

Incidentally, Aadikesavulu met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] and TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu in Delhi on Wednesday.

The action against Jagannatham has evoked mixed response within the TDP. Some leaders including V Ramaiah, the chief of the Scheduled Caste wing of the TDP, has condemned Jagannath as a 'traitor'.

"He has voted in support of the UPA to stop a Dalit woman (Mayawati) from becoming the prime minister," Ramaiah said.

But some leaders believe that strong action against a Dalit MP might alienate the Dalit vote bank.

TDP workers held a demonstration at Jagannatham's residence in Hyderabad on Thursday and shouted slogans against him. Apprehending trouble, the police detained over 50 protestors.

                                                                  Also Read: The Trust Vote

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