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KCR, Kejriwal discuss national politics at luncheon meeting


Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Sunday had a luncheon meeting with his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal at the latter’s residence in New Delhi.

The meeting between the two chief ministers lasted around an hour. According to the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) in Hyderabad, they discussed issues related to the country’s federal structure, states’ contribution in national growth and other national political issues.

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), who is eyeing a key role in national politics, is believed to have discussed his plans to evolve an alternative national agenda with Kejriwal, who is national convener of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

KCR, as Rao is popularly known, is on a week-long visit to various parts of the country to meet leaders of various political parties and attend different programmes.

Samajwadi Party leader and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had called on KCR at the latter’s residence in the national capital on Saturday.

After Sunday’s meeting with Kejriwal, both the chief ministers left for Chandigarh where they along with Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann will meet the families of farmers, who lost their lives during the year long agitation by the farmers against controversial farm laws made by the Centre.

KCR will distribute the cheques of Rs 3 lakh for each bereaved family. He will also hand over a cheque of Rs 10 lakh each to the families of four Army personnel from Punjab who were martyred during clashes with the Chinese troops in Galwan Valley.

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After proving in Punjab, AAP may emerge as alternative to Cong


The first regional party that has won outside its state of origin, Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is set to foray into national politics.

The landslide win in Punjab has positioned AAP in direct competition to the nation’s grand old party, the Congress.

In the five-state Assembly polls, which were regarded as a kind of semi-final, the Congress has been decimated. After the loss in Punjab, Congress is left with only two states — Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

Arvind Kejriwal, while addressing the party workers at the party office in Delhi on Thursday after the results, said that this was a stamp on honest politics and “Bhagat Singh said that the system has to be changed and the people of Punjab have changed the system.”

The party has often made a mention of its national ambition, and has fielded candidates in several states. With the Punjab win, the ambition finally seems to be taking shape.

The elated party workers say that Kejriwal will be the Prime Ministerial candidate in future as an alternative to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Kejriwal shares a good rapport with non-BJP leaders, including Mamata Banerjee, Sharad Pawar and Akhilesh Yadav. He may become a joint opposition candidate at the cost of Congress in view of the latter’s continued downslide since 2014.

AAP’s Punjab in-charge Raghav Chaddha said that the BJP took 10 years to form its government in a state, but AAP has expanded its base to second state in Punjab and in both the states the AAP has got landslide victory.

Apart from Punjab, AAP has performed well in Goa where it secured around 4 per cent votes. In Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, the party has contested and though it has not won, but they have tried to make their organisation alive in each district of the state.

AAP’s Bhagwant Mann, who is the Chief Ministerial candidate, won Dhuri seat with a margin of 58,206 votes. The party is heading for a landslide win in the 117-member legislative Assembly.

In his first public address in his home town Sangrur after winning the seat and seeing the meteoric rise of the party, Mann promised to fix unemployment as his first task in office.

“No government office in the state will have the photo of the Punjab CM, but will carry a portrait of B.R. Ambedkar….We will ensure that the youth do not have to go abroad… Within a month, you will observe changes,” he added

Mann said he will take oath as the Chief Minister in Bhagat Singh’s ancestral village Khatkar Kalan and not in Raj Bhawan. Taking a dig at the opposition leaders, he said, “The elder Badal has lost…Captain (Amarinder Singh) Sahab has also lost. Majithia is also losing. Channi has also lost from both seats.”

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After trends show landslide win for AAP in Punjab, Kejriwal thanks people


Aam Aadmi Party convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday thanked the people of Punjab after trends indicated a landslide win for his party.

As the trends indicated an unassailable lead for AAP in Punjab, Kejriwal tweeted a photo with AAP MP and the party’s chief ministerial candidate Bhagwant Mann.

“Thank people of Punjab for this revolution,” Kejriwal posted.

The AAP is on its way to script history by getting a majority in Punjab. After Delhi, the AAP is now going to form the government in Punjab.

The AAP is leading in 90 seats while the ruling Congress alliance is ahead in 18 seats in the 117-member House.

The half-way mark for the state Assembly is 59 seats.

For Goa, Kejriwal tweeted: AAP has bagged two seats in Goa. Congratulations and best wishes. It is the beginning of honest politics in Goa.”

As per the Election Commission, the BJP is leading in 18 seats and has won one seat, the AAP is leading in two seats while the Congress is leading in 10 seats and has won one.

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Kejriwal extends support to KCR


Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal extended his government’s support to Telangana, which is battling heavy rains and unprecedented floods that has killed at least 70 people in rain-related incidents during the past one week in the state.

On Tuesday, Kejriwal announced Rs 15 crore as an “immediate contribution” to the Chief Minister’s Public Relief Fund of the state. “Floods have caused havoc in Hyderabad. People of Delhi stand by our brother and sisters in Hyderabad in this hour of crisis. Delhi govt will donate Rs 15 cr to the Govt of Telangana for its relief efforts Delhi govt will donate Rs 15 cr to the Govt of Telangana for its relief efforts,” Kejriwal tweeted.

Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao thanked Kejriwal for financial assistance towards flood relief in Telangana.

Earlier, Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K Palaniswami donated Rs 10 crore to flood-hit Telangana from the TN Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. The Tamil Nadu government also said it will be sending blankets and mats to the flood victims. In a letter to KCR, the Tamil Naidu CM wrote, At this difficult time, on behalf of the State government and people of Tamil Nadu, I convey my heartfelt condolences to the family members of all those who have lost their lives in the rains and flood

Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Monday announced Rs 1 lakh each to totally damaged houses and Rs 50,000 to partially damaged houses and Rs 10,000 as immediate relief to each flood-affected household in the city.

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Kejriwal calls Nizamuddin gathering criminal. FIR against Maulana


Calling the religious gathering a criminal act and ordering the registration of an FIR against the ‘maulana’ for leading a congregation in West Nizamuddin in South Delhi after several people who attended it showed symptoms of coronavirus, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday said 1,548 people have been evacuated from Nizamuddin Markaz of which, 441 were hospitalised after they showed corona virus symptoms

The chief minister said 1,107 people, who attended religious congregation in Nizamudddin West, have been quarantined. He said of the 97 cases of coronavirus in the city, 24 were those who took part in the congregation earlier this month
Kejriwal slammed the organisers of the religious gathering saying it was “highly irresponsible” on their part to hold such an event at a time when thousands have died in other countries due to the pandemic.

The congregation at the Jamath, according to the government, is a clear violation of the order, and criminal action must follow. According to a statement issued by Delhi government, “The lockdown was imposed on March 24 and it was the duty of every owner and administrator of every hotel, guesthouse, hostel and similar establishment to maintain social distancing. It looks like social distancing and quarantine protocols were not practised here.”

The statement of the Delhi government further noted, “By this gross act of negligence, many lives have been endangered. It was the responsibility of every citizen to proactively avoid such a gathering of people during the lockdown and this is nothing but a criminal act.”

Over 1,000 people from various districts of Telangana attended the religious congregation ‘Tableegh Jamat’ in Markaz Masjid in South Delhi’s Nizamuddin which has been put on high alert by the ruling Aam Aadmi party.

Of the more than 1,000 people, around 600 people under the Hyderabad, Rachakonda and Cyberabad police limits attended the religious congregation ‘Tableegh Jamat’ in Markaz Masjid, while around 80 people attended from Nizamabad , 45 from Nalgonda, 38 from Warangal Urban, 27 from Khammam.

At least six people died due to the corona virus in Telangana. All the six who died in the State (2 in Gandhi Hospital, 1 in Apollo Hospital, 1 in Global Hospital, 1 in Nizamabad, 1 in Gadwal) attended the ‘Tableegh Jamat’ in Markaz Masjid. In fact, Telangana’s CMO on Monday late night admitted six deaths due to Covid-19 outbreak among a group that had attended a religious prayer at Markaz in Nizamuddin area of Delhi during second week of this month.

Municipal Administration and Urban Development and chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s son K T Rama Rao on Tuesday said the Telangana government was seriously concerned and efforts are being made to trace and track all those who attended the meeting and also those who came in contact with the infected people.

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First fulfil promises, Kishor told Kejriwal before polls


Before coming on board to advise AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal for campaigning in Delhi assembly polls, election strategist Prashant Kishor advised the Chief Minister to first fulfil the promises his party had made to the people of Delhi to win their trust.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which won 67 seats in the 2015 assembly elections had made 70 promises to the people, including a strict Jan Lokpal, free Wi-Fi, marshals in DTC buses, installation of CCTV cameras across the city to improve security, half electricity price, free water and many others.

AAP had selected Kishor’s consultancy firm, Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC), to design its campaign for the Delhi assembly polls in December last year.

A senior I-PAC source said before agreeing to come on board to look after the AAP campaign, Kishor advised Kejriwal to fulfil promises he had made before 2015 assembly polls. The source said it was after Kishor’s advice that the party swung into action and started installation of CCTV cameras across the national capital.

The source said AAP had agreed to keep its word on providing free Wi-Fi high speed internet service in the national capital.

The AAP government had started installation of CCTV cameras and the Wi-Fi internet services late in 2019.

The I-PAC source also said that Kishor then came up with the idea of guarantee card to ensure services to the people. The ‘Kejriwal ka Guarantee Card’ was released by the Chief Minister on January 19, almost a month after Kishor officially took over the campaigning of the party.

The ‘Kejriwal ka Guarantee Card’ had 10 “guarantees”: a promise to reduce air pollution in Delhi by three times, plant more than two crore trees to make Delhi green, continuation of 24-hour uninterrupted power supply and 200 units of free electricity for all, freeing the city from the web of wires and taking electricity to each household through underground cable, 24-hour pure piped drinking water to each house in the next five years and continuing a scheme to provide 20,000 liters of free water, giving a world-class education facility for each child, better health facilities for all, and the “biggest and cheapest” transport facility for the city.

The source said Kishor even asked AAP leaders to not target the BJP on the national security issues and keep its campaign focused entirely on Delhi.

“It was the reason why Kejriwal was not attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi throughout the campaigning,” the source said.

Even Kejriwal’s ‘temple trot’ before the elections was planned strategically as the BJP was attacking him by calling him “terrorist”, he said.

“During the planning of Kejriwal’s temple visit, it was known that BJP leaders will attack the AAP leader and thus it will work negatively for them,” he added.

The AAP on Tuesday pulled off a stunner again as it won 62 out of 70 seats in Delhi. The BJP won eight seats while the Congress drew a blank for the second time.

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What’s Prashant Kishor fee for Kejriwal election?


The Aam Aadmi Party is getting widespread praise for winning Delhi election without distributing any money to the voters. Arvind Kejriwal is said to have mesmerised common public with his popular power subsidy, health and education programmes. However, his election strategist Prashant Kishor has also got credit for the AAP massive victory. But, Prashant is known for taking high fee from his clients. He is also known for using all tricks and gimmicks in the electoral game.

Prashant Kishor’s I-PAC firm received Rs 37 Cr officially from CM Jaganmohan Reddy’s YCP for their services in 2019 election in Andhra Pradesh. Speculation in AP political circles is that Jagan paid lot more to Prashant to engage teams in order to manage various sections involved in the election process at that time. Now, the questions arise how much fee Kejriwal would have paid to Prashant for rendering his firm services.

Interestingly, the Delhi election went smoothly unlike in AP where top officials around Chandrababu Naidu were changed by Election Commission of India during peak of election process. Wherever it goes, Prashant team gets blamed for subverting election process to benefit their client. But this time, in Delhi, no major complaints came up against Prashant in Delhi. BJP is also strangely silent.

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Andhra CM congratulates Kejriwal on remarkable victory


Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on Tuesday congratulated Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for Aam Aadmi Party’s resounding victory in Assembly elections.

“Hearty congratulations to the Aam Admi Party and Arvind Kejriwal on the remarkable victory on Delhi polls 2020. Wishing you a successful tenure ahead,” tweeted Jagan Mohan Reddy, who is the president of YSR Congress Party.

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‘Pehle AAP’: All exit polls predict AAP win

The assembly elections of Delhi is closely watched by the people across the country. Moreover, the battle is fierce this time as both BJP and AAP fought tooth and nail. Amit Shah, BJP ex-chief has done extensive roadshows. The war of words between BJP leaders and AAP leaders was nothing less than a real battle. However, the exit polls are out and almost all exit polls predicted a massive victory for AAP. If these predictions turn true, he will be CM fo Delhi for 3rd consecutive time.
The exit polls of various agencies as below:
AAP BJP+ Cong Others
Times Now 44 26 0 0
Republic 48-61 9 to 21 0-1 0
ABP-Cvoter 49-63 5 to 19 0-4 0
India TV 44 26 0 0
News X-Neta 53-57 11 to 17 0-2 0
Aam Admi Party was launched on 26 November 2012. It made its electoral debut in the 2013 Delhi Legislative Assembly election, where it emerged as the second-largest party, winning 28 of the 70 seats.AAP formed a minority government with conditional support from the Indian National Congress. In the 2015 Delhi Legislative Assembly election, AAP won 67 of the 70 seats in the assembly and BJP won the remaining 3 seats.  This time, the majority may come down from 67 seats, but it seems AAP will score much higher number of seats than the magic figure of 36.
Reason for the comeback:
The primary reason seems to be corruption free governance. Also, the Kejriwal government, implemented schemes for free water, free electricity for power consumption of up to 200 units, free treatment up to Rs 5 lakh even in private hospitals if the government hospitals cannot provide treatment within 30 days and to improve school education administration. Also, setting up of 1000 primary health centers (of which around 200 already functional) improved AAP image. More than all this, Congress party that ruled Delhi for several years is completely wiped out and so entire anti-BJP vote polarised towards AAP.
Pehle AAP:
There is an idiom in Hindi that ‘Pehle AAP’ (i.e. You first). Whenever you are entering a train or bus, if somebody else or trying to enter, being a well-mannered person, you say ‘Pehle AAP’, so that he enters first. On a lighter vein, some analysts are saying that -it seems Delhi people are so used to this ‘manners’ and AAP is ‘Pehle’ (first) than other parties in the elections for the last 7 years.
We will have to wait and see whether this predictions turn true or not.

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What a loss would mean for Kejriwal or Shah


With Delhi now having decided whom it wants to handover the baton to rule for the next five years, a loss to either the AAP or the BJP, will deal a huge blow to either of the parties. Delhi elections have always been much more than just a state assembly poll. And this poll especially is an existential crisis for one versus the loss of face to another.

BJP’s loss would mean Amit ‘Chanakya’ Shah’s personal loss:

When you are Amit Shah, the burden of performing each time is akin to a Virat Kohli going out to bat every time. After a series of unprecedented wins, Shah, who is called the ‘Chanakya’ of BJP has been having a ‘bad patch’, as many calls it in cricket parlance. Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand — the list of defeats have been stretching and weighing down heavily.

Another loss, before the crucial Bihar polls, won’t send a good signal.

One may argue, Shah is no longer the party boss, it’s Jagat Prakash Nadda.

However, it should be noted that not only did the organisational elections took place in the mid of the high profile Delhi campaign, but Shah had gone full throttle to win Delhi.

His road shows were huge and the decible was at full blast — so a win or loss would be seen as a personal one.

Shah has pressed most of his party MPs to action, called almost all BJP Chief Ministers to campaign against Arvind Kejriwal. From Vijay Rupani to Devendra Fadnavis, Biplab Deb to Shivraj Singh Chouhan — all big faces of the party were seen holding road shows, street corner meetings and even mingling with Delhites with one intent — to defeat the AAP.

Members of Parliament from Assam, West Bengal, Karnataka were used in areas dominated by Assamese, Bengali and Kannadigas, respectively. In that way, Shah has gone way too far in his fight, to ensure a BJP’s win.

The fight has been unequal with a state party and its CM on one side and the might of the BJP and its top guns on the other. While a win will reassert Amit Shah as indeed the Virat Kohli that BJP can bet upon, a loss will be less of a party and more of Shah’s ego.

A loss for AAP will mean existential crisis:

A loss for the Aam Aadmi Party will mean an existential crisis. The party that once was aspiring to be a national party has been cuckooned in the national capital.

In 2014, AAP won Patiala, Sangrur, Faridkot and Fatehgarh Sahib. In 2017, the party hoped big in Punjab election but a resurgent Amarinder Singh of the Congress thwarted its advancs. Though, it emerged as an opposition with a strong foothold in Punjab’s Malwa region, animated infighting led the party to its non significant existence.

Come 2019 general election, AAP’s remaining influence in Punjab was flushed away when it won just one seat across India, from Punjab’s Sangrur — Bhagwant Mann. Though Arvind Kejriwal took a shot by fielding candidates from Delhi, Chandigarh, Bihar, Goa, Punjab, Andaman and Nicobar, Haryana, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh; just one won.

AAP recorded its highest vote share in the national capital at 18.10 per cent, in 2019 general election. This alone speaks volumes of how limited the party has been. Moreover, Kejriwal left state faces like Anjali Damania or Mayank Gandhi who could cultivate local talents for the party, disillusioned.

So, if AAP loses Delhi on February 11, it will be it’s political epitaph.

In this battle for the nation’s capital, one has to lose. While the celebration will be at its loudest at one party headquarter, the silence will be strikingly deafening in the other party office.

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Prashant Kishor’s IPAC to work for Kejriwal’s AAP


Prashant Kishor, the election strategist is in high demand nowadays. The success of his organization in recent elections made him the most sought after strategist by many political parties. As per the latest update, he is going to work for Aravind Kejriwal’s AAP in Delhi assembly elections in 2020.

The update came from none other than Kejriwal himself, who tweeted, “Happy to share that @indianpac is coming on-board with us. Welcome aboard!”.

AAP contested first in the 2013 election and stood at second place while BJP, the party that stood at first place could not win the magic number of seats to form the government. So, Lieutenant governor invited AAP to form the government and Kejriwal became CM as Congress supported from outside. But Kejriwal resigned after a few months citing he could not pass Jan Lokpal bill. In 2015 Delhi Legislative Assembly elections, that were held on 7 February 2015, AAP got landslide victory that was unprecedented in recent times as his party won 67 out of 70 seats while BJP won the remaining 3 seats.

However, the party that got such a huge mandate in previous elections roping in Prashant Kishor now is an indication that AAP could not deliver what it promised, point the critics of Aam Aadmi Party. We will have to wait and see whether Prashant Kishor’s magic works in Delhi this time or not.

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Video: Chandrababu Naidu Meets Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal

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Kejriwal backs TDP, calls for defeating Modi


Delhi chief minister Aravind Kejriwal has called voters in Andhra Pradesh to re-elect TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu in Assembly elections and scrap Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha polls. “I request AP voters to vote for TDP in both the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections so that the state development should be continued further,” said Kejriwal, while cautioning the voters that if they vote for YSRCP, then it’s nothing, but voting for BJP.

The Delhi CM along with Naidu took part in the election campaign in Krishna district. “I am here to request you all to vote for TDP in Assembly and Lok Sabha elections. So that AP will have stable and good governance in the state and good representation at the Centre. When you vote for TDP in Assembly and Lok Sabha elections, it’ll be like one shot two birds. You will have TDP representation at the Centre and responsible government in the state. If TDP gets 25 MP seats, Naidu will have more influence at the Centre. This will enable AP to get all the support it deserves. Instead of developing the nation, Narendra Modi is taking the country backwards. Moreover, the Modi-led government is resorting to caste, region and religious politics in the country. Hence, AP voters should vote for TDP and defeat BJP,” said Kejriwal.

Kejriwal further appreciated Naidu for keeping the AP economy on track despite non-cooperation from the Centre. “AP couldn’t receive benefits assured in the AP Reorganisation Act-2014. Naidu has handled very efficiently all these problems and put the economy back on the development track. Going by TDP welfare schemes, anyone can easily understand how Naidu and his TDP government are working for all sections of the society. Farmers, women, old-aged people, physically challenged people more prominently among the list of beneficiaries,” remarked Kejriwal.

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Kejriwal lashes out at BJP for raiding TDP leader’s home, offices


Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday lashed out at the BJP government for conducting a raid at the offices of a Telugu Desam Party (TDP) parliamentarian, saying that “this is how the Modi government unleashes its hounds if you oppose it”.

Starting late Friday, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials on Saturday continued the searches at the residence and offices of former Union Minister and TDP Member of Parliament Y.S. Chowdary in Andhra Pradesh for alleged financial irregularities.

Taking to Twitter, Kejriwal said: “Raids by Modi government on TDP leaders are a clear signal that once you start opposing BJP, then all the hounds will be unleashed.”

“As I suggested earlier, states should ban the entry of all central investigative agencies which are on witch-hunt mode,” the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief said.

Earlier, Kejriwal had backed the Chandrababu Naidu government in Andhra Pradesh after he withdrew the “general consent” it had earlier given to the CBI to operate within its territory.

Kejriwal had also advised Naidu “to not allow the Income Tax Department in the state”.

The CBI now requires the permission of the Andhra Pradesh government to conduct raids in the state.

The move had come following a series of raids by the Income Tax authorities against TDP leaders including Naidu’s close aide and MP C.M. Ramesh.

The party leaders alleged that the Modi government was misusing central agencies to target them.

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Pawan Kalyan may want to pull off a KTR

Sometimes the best way to get attention is reviewing the work and avoiding senseless arguments. Everyone is aware that Jana Sena Chief Pawan Kalyan raises the issue of North South divide to get National media’s attention. But media is too busy covering AAP and Arvind Kejriwal, thus giving an edge to the regional media.

The national media is possessed over the charges against Kejriwal for taking two crore rupees bribe. Telangana Minister of IT K T Rama Rao shared the same feels and plainly reminded them that there are states outside Delhi. He tweeted “Am I the only one who finds the obsession of ‘National Media’ with AAP/Kejriwal amusing? Guys, 98% of India is outside of Delhi. Just saying” In just few minutes, consulting editor of so-called National Media said “more focus means more accountability”. The Minister accepted the challenge and asked them to focus on Telangana. Kalyan may want to learn from KTR on how to receive courteous attention without asking for it. Jana Sena supremo is unable to realise such response from National Media using his favorite North-South issue. May be someday his case will be considered, only to lose respect.

Kalyan is always noticed by the regional media and consequently, his each and every action is closely monitored. Before getting ambitious in expanding his horizons at national or international level, Kalyan needs to first be responsible to the regional media and people. A star hero singing the same ridiculous song of divisiveness is no longer national news. There are so many issues in the state and Jana Sena keeps holding the dried branch. TTD EO hailing from north would be hardly a matter of concern to Lord Venkateshwara himself. He has too many issues on his plate as the leaders who were supposed to “question” are wasting time by tweeting on absurd issues. Kalyan may want to take up better subjects to get focus or at least scorn the national media, as the north-south thing is no longer happening.

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Who will stop the BJP? No one in sight

After the resounding victories of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the UP assembly and Delhi municipal elections, the party increasingly appears to be politically invincible.

The three parties which offered some resistance to it in 2014 — the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha and Trinamool Congress in West Bengal — are not in the pink of health today.

The AIADMK has all but collapsed after former Chief Minister Jayalalitha’s death, the BJD has suffered serious reverses in the local polls and is feeling distinctly nervous while the Trinamool Congress has shot itself in the foot by its rather too soft a policy towards the Muslims, thereby alienating the Bengali middle-class Hindus, while several of its prominent personalities have become embroiled in scams.

Among the supposedly all-India parties, the fact that the Congress has fallen back on Sonia Gandhi to reach out to the regional leaders for an anti-BJP alliance shows that the party’s attempts to prop up Rahul Gandhi haven’t succeeded. It will not be easy for Sonia Gandhi, who is clearly not as fit and energetic as before, to take up the kind of role which she played to bring the non-BJP parties together in 2004.

Those who worsted the BJP in 2015, like Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi and Nitish Kumar in Bihar, have also suffered a decline, especially the former.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the BJP is now eying the east and the northeast as its new areas of conquest. The alacrity with which Congress MLAs in various states are joining the BJP shows that they regard their former adversary as a greener pasture for political and personal advancement.

It is not that the BJP doesn’t face problems. For one, it has become a virtual one-man party with its dependence on Narendra Modi for success in even municipal elections. The party does not have a second line of defence if only because Modi has kept previously prominent party members like Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha, not to mention veterans like L.K. Advani, well outside the organisation.

For another, the economy has not been picking up in a manner which will sustain hope about the success of Modi’s development agenda. The prime minister, therefore, has been speaking more about a pro-poor thrust a la Indira Gandhi than about rapid growth.

For a third, the government appears to be at a loss as to ways to deal with both external and internal threats posed by the Pakistan-based fidayeens (suicide bombers) and the Maoists, mainly in western and central India.

Even then, what evidently keeps the BJP going is Modi’s popularity which has made him the most dominant person in today’s politics, as Congress leader P. Chidambaram has said. Apart from the Prime Minister’s seemingly boundless energy and rhetorical skills, his advantage is that there is no one in the opposition camp who can match his wide appeal.

Not only that, his adversaries have undermined themselves by self-defeating moves as when Sonia Gandhi stalled the Manmohan Singh government’s forward march on the economic front by opting for extravagant populist measures, thereby handing over her own government’s development agenda on a platter to Modi. As Chidambaram ruefully admitted later, the government should not have taken “the foot off the accelerator of reforms”.

Similarly, Kejriwal came to power with the assurance of providing a clean government as promised by his one-time mentor, Anna Hazare, who pleaded for the setting up of a Lokpal, an anti-corruption ombudsman. But Kejriwal’s own internal ombudsman, Admiral L. Ramdas, had to leave the Aam Admi Party (AAP) for questioning the Chief minister’s authoritarian style, which also led to the ouster of the latter’s former allies, Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan.

By the time Kejriwal had concluded the purge of his own party, it was clear that governance, whether a clean one or not, was not his primary objective, but an insatiable craving for power. Once this obsession became clear, it was obvious that his party’s days were numbered since the aam admi or the common man after whom the outfit was named had seen through his pretensions. The AAP’s defeat in Delhi was only to be expected, therefore, after its setbacks in Punjab and Goa.

Like Kejriwal, Nitish Kumar, too, has failed to live up to the expectations that he had aroused during his earlier stint as Chief Minister when he succeeded in ridding Bihar of the lawlessness — or the jungle raj, as it was called — which was rampant during the tenures of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leaders Laloo Prasad Yadav and his wife, Rabri Devi.

But now, as an ally of Laloo Prasad while Rabri Devi is calling for her son, Tejaswi, to be elevated from Deputy Chief Minister to Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar’s focus is somehow to hold on to power.

So, who will stop the BJP? Not only is there no one in sight, but there is little chance of the opposition parties being able to put together an anti-BJP combine because of their fractious internal relations.

Besides, they lack a forward-looking economic agenda which appeals to the young as Modi’s Make In India, Digital India, start-ups and other programmes do.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

“Mr Kejriwal, Respect Democracy, Avoid Amaravati”


Having set the ball in motion, now former union power secretary EAS Sarma writes to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal asking him to refrain from attending the Amaravati foundation laying ceremony on October 22, 2015, for the simple reason that capital project is anti-people. We reproduce the letter here. A couple of days ago Sarma wrote to PM  urging him to think twice before attending Amaravati ceremony. The letter triggered a campaign by public spirited people writing letters to PM with a request not to join the ill-conceived capital project inauguration.



Shri Arvind Kejriwal
Chief Minister
Delhi Govt

Dear Arvind,

Subject:- Shri Chandrababu Naidu’s invitation to you to attend the inauguaration of the new capital city on October 22nd at Amaravati near Guntur- Objections

I underatand that Shri Chandrababu Naidu, CM (AP) has invited you to attend the inauguration of the new capital city on October 21st at Amaravati near Guntur. I would strongly recommend that you should refrain from attending the inauguration for the following reasons.

The State government is forcibly acquiring several thousands of fertile agricultural land adjacent to River Krishna for this project, disrupting the lives of lakhs of farmers, agricultural workers, artisans and so on.

The area where the capital city is being set up comprises vast stretches of land on which more than a hundred different types of crops are grown. There are hundreds of water bodies over that land which will get adversely affected. The project will affect the food security of the State.

In this age of modern communications, there is no need for such a grandiose capital city comprising of concrete structures, a delight for real estate developers, who are in nexus with the State’s political leaders. The small and marginal farmers do not derive any benefit from the acquisition of land.

The project violates Section 6 of the AP Reorganisation Act in pursuance of which the Union Home Ministry has set down the criteria for locating the capital city. Till date, the State authorities have not cared to evaluate the environment impact of the project and failed to go through the statutory environment impact assessment process that provides for public consultation. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued an interim order staying further work on the capital city but the State is proceeding obstinately, streamrolling the statutory procedure.

The Ministry of Environment & Forests (MOEF) is trying to bypass all statutory procedures since BJP is an ally of TDP. On the other hand, the same BJP-dominated government has defied every norm of cooperative federalism vis a vis the Delhi government that you head today!

Bowing down to pressure from real estate developers, the State has also violated the statutory procedure laid down in AP Agricultural Land (Conversion for Non-Agricultural Purposes) Act, 2006.

In the name of the State’s pride, the State authorities are splurging money on the inaugural function at the cost of payments for genuine development work. This project has turned out to be a bottomless pit for public expenditire, resulting in syphoning off of funds from the backward north AP and Rayalaseema districts, leading to regional discrimination. There has been no public consultation on this project at any time.

Against this background, I leave it to you to consider what I have indicated above and decide on whether you will participate in the inaugural function or not.

In my view, if you respect the law of the land and care for democratic processes, you should refrain from attending the function.

I enclose a copy of my letter to the Prime Minister’s Office suggesting that the PM should also do likewise.

14-40-4/1 Gokhale Road
Visakhapatnam 530002
Mobile: 919866021646
Email: eassarma@gmail.com

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.



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