The newly elected GHMC Mayor, TRS corporator Gadwal Vijayalakshmi, who has held the post for just about five days today, found herself in the eye of not one but two storms.
Although Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, who met the new GHMC officials soon after they were elected to their posts, had explicitly asked them to exercise caution and restraint while making public statements
, the new Mayor seems to have gone right ahead and done exactly what the officials had been asked not to do.
She stirred up quite a controversy with her remarks on the issue of rains and floods in Hyderabad - when asked about the preparedness of the GHMC to handle floods in the state capital, she reportedly said that she had prayed for there to be no rains in the city for the next five years.
Vijayalakshmi's comments went viral, and sparked outrage among the netizens and political leaders alike.
BJP leader and Ramanthapur corporator Bandaru Srivani lashed out at her, saying that while she might have sufficient water stored in her "posh residence" to make such an "irresponsible" wish, the rest of the people in the city and the state did not have such luxuries. She also said that the better approach to dealing with floods would be to focus on dealing with encroachments and clogged nalas.
Another corporator pointed out that developing improved storm water drains and sewage systems was the real method to prevent floods, and condemned the Mayor for making a wish that would harm the farmers and other citizens of the state.
Vijayalakshmi also became the target of much criticism for her alleged involvement in the transfer of Shaikpet Tahasildar N Srinivas Reddy - just a day after her appointment, Reddy was removed from his post, and not given another posting. He was instead asked to appear before the Chief Commissioner of Land Administration.
Why this gave way to rumours that the move was one motivated by personal vendetta was because Vijayalakshmi had reportedly had an altercation with the Shaikpet official on January 21, which had resulted in him filing an official complaint against her for "obstructing" him from discharging his official duties.
Responding to the growing speculation on both issues, Vijayalakshmi today clarified her stand on them in a video.
She claimed that, contrary to the rumours on social media, she had never spoken against the rains, and had never said that she did not want it to rain.
Alleging that her words had been distorted, the Mayor said, "I had simply said that the untimely rains last year had devastated the city, and had expressed my hope that such an incident would not reoccur."
She also said that she was not involved, in any which way, in the decision to transfer the Shaikpet Tahasildar.
The Mayor claimed that she had never mentioned the incident to anyone, let alone order the transfer, and said, "It is for the revenue department to take such calls. Neither the GHMC nor I have any say in the matter. I did not exert any influence on any leaders or bureaucrats on the matter of the Tahasildar's transfer. That is not my cup of tea. The Tahasildar himself clarified that he did not face any political pressure to transfer.