Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan says her phone is tapped

The Governor said if her phone had not been tapped, how could TRS tweet that "Raj Bhavan and Tushar" were involved in the "incident"?

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Nov 09, 2022 | 7:39 PMUpdatedNov 09, 2022 | 7:41 PM

Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan. (Supplied)

Raising the political temperature to an all-time high, Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan on Wednesday, 9 November, accused the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) of tapping her phone.

The visibly upset Governor claimed at a press conference that TRS leaders were eavesdropping on her conversations with her contacts.

Tearing into the ruling party for allegedly resorting to unethical practices, she said if her phone had not been tapped, how could TRS tweet that “Raj Bhavan and Tushar” were involved in the “incident”?

She did not identify the incident by name, but it seemed obvious that she was referring to the Aziznagar farmhouse drama where three “emissaries of the BJP” attempted to entice TRS MLAs into joining the saffron party.

The trio was subsequently arrested in what is now being called the cash-for-MLAs case.

To make matters worse for the BJP, Telangana Chief Minister and TRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao last week unveiled three hours of footage from the discussions in this cash-for-MLAs meeting.

Also read: Cash-for-MLAs: How Karnataka, Maharashtra govts were toppled

Governor levels serious allegations

“I do not want to refer to or name the incident. Why should I or the Raj Bhavan get involved in it? The TRS Twitter handle had mentioned Raj Bhavan and Tushar in its tweet, which it could not have done had my phone not been tapped,” the Governor told reporters.

Screengrab of the video of the people allegedly involved in the "cash for MLAs" case in Telangana. (Supplied)

Screengrab of the video of the people allegedly involved in the “cash for MLAs” case in Telangana. (Supplied)

“The Tushar I spoke to is my former ADC [aide-de-camp]. He is different from the Tushar who figured in the farmhouse drama, but the TRS did not know the difference,” she said, asserting that it only showed that they had tapped her phone.

Referring to six bills pending with her and the cold response she had from the government when she asked the education minister to visit her and explain the bill for the creation of the common recruitment board for universities, she said that she could not be expected to clear all the bills blindly, without going through their provisions.

She said the government initially remained callous to her suggestion, “but after I called the press conference, it realised that it would lead to controversy and sought an appointment to meet me”, she said. “The minister is always welcome to meet me and explain the bill.”

Dropping subtle hints that there were forces that were inciting students to stage protests at the Raj Bhavan for not clearing the bills, she said: “Students are welcome to the Raj Bhavan and see me. But they wanted to stage a protest.”

Soundararajan alleged: “For the last eight years, no appointments were made to the universities, and yet the students did not say a word. When I delayed giving assent for more than a month, they wanted to come and stage a protest at the Raj Bhavan. Why haven’t they staged any demonstration at the Pragati Bhavan when the government delayed appointments for nearly eight years?”

The Governor said that, unlike Pragati Bhavan, the doors of the Raj Bhavan were always open to people. “Everyone is welcome to visit me and present any grievance they have. When I am ready to see you, why do you want to stage protests?” she asked.

Putting government on the dock

Justifying the delay in giving her assent to the bill for the creation of the common recruitment board, the governor said that while clearing a bill that sought recruitment to all universities through one board, she had to ensure that the procedures were foolproof.

“You do not expect the Governor, who is the Chancellor of universities, to sign a crucial bill like this without studying it properly. There is no deadline for the Governor to clear the bill. Let the government clarify all the points. I have to ensure that there would be no scope for politics creeping into the selection process while recruitment of the top functionaries of the universities is made,” she said.

She said she had been after the government to fill the vacancies of the vice-chancellors and other positions in the universities, “but my suggestions had not been acted upon”.

Asked about the private universities bill, the governor asked why the government was eager to allow private universities without setting its own house in order.

Also read: Telangana’s only government dental college is plagued by problems

“The government universities are a mess. The hostels are poorly maintained and the food is prepared in unhygienic conditions. There is no proper lighting in the hostels. First, take a look at your own universities,” she said.

To another question, she said that she did not subscribe to the idea that Governors should be divested of the responsibility of being the Chancellors of the universities.

“The existing system should go on because it would effectively prevent politics from entering the universities. That is the reason Governors are made Chancellors,” she said.