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With Gujarat polls over, BJP to now focus on T’gana

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With the Assembly elections in Gujarat coming to an end, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is now looking to focus on Telangana to gear up for the polls due next year.

As part of its preparations, the saffron party is planning to use the services of its top leadership to bolster the prospects in the state.

BJP National President J.P. Nadda visit Telangana on December 16 to address a public meeting marking the culmination of the fifth phase of the ‘Praja Sangram Yatra’ of BJP state president Bandi Sanjay Kumar.

Nadda will address themeeting in Karimnagar, the Lok Sabha constituency represented by Bandi Sanjay.

With Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s daughter and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) legislator, K. Kavitha’s name figuring in the Enforcement Directorate (ED) probe in the Delhi liquor policy scam and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) also serving her notice in connection with the same case, the BJP is apparently looking to step up the attack on TRS on its home turf.

Political observers say the TRS is already rattled by a series of searches by the central agencies against Telangana ministers, MPs, MLAs and other leaders in different cases and the BJP may try to politically cash in on the situation.

During his speeches at public meetings in the past, Nadda had described KCR government as the most corrupt in the entire country.

The latest developments are likely to provide further ammunition to the BJP leaders in their attacks on the TRS.

Though the BJP failed in its plan to win the by-election to Munugode Assembly seat, the party leaders feel that the investigation by various agencies against the acts of omissions and commissions by the leaders of ruling party will help sharpen their attacks on the ruling party in the run-up to the Assembly polls.

After winning the Dubbak and Huzurabad Assembly seats, BJP was looking to score a hat-trick in Munugode but the TRS foiled its plan by winning the bitterly-contested bypoll.

However, a series of raids by agencies like ED, CBI and IT against top TRS leaders have come handy for the saffron party to sharpen their attack.

The TRS leaders see the raids as a counter to the arrest of three alleged agents of BJP in October while they were trying to lure four MLAs of the TRS with offers of huge sums of money to make them defect to the BJP.

As the name of BJP General Secretary B. L. Santhosh and two others cropped up during the investigation, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the state police not only summoned them for questioning but included them in the case as accused.

The MLAs’ poaching case being investigated by the state and the raids by the central agencies have already generated political heat in the state.

The ongoing padyatra by the BJP state president and the public meeting to be addressed by Nadda on December 16 are likely to further add fuel to the fire.

The beginning of the fifth phase of the padyatra last week saw a showdown with the government denying permission for its launch from Bhainsa town in Nirmal district.

Citing the apprehension of breach of peace in the communally sensitive town, the police denied permission for the launch of the padyatra from Bhainsa and also the public meeting which was scheduled to be addressed by Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

On a petition by the BJP challenging the police action, the Telangana High Court gave conditional permission for the padyatra.

The tone and tenor of Bandi Sanjay during the speeches indicates that the BJP is going all out to achieve its Mission 2023.

Bandi Sanjay, whose walkathon entered eighth day on Monday, described himself as “a psycho” who “works for the poor, protects Hindu Dharma and Hindu brothers”.

Slamming TRS government, he questioned the sanction of “40 per cent” of 2BHK houses to a particular community and asked where the majority 80 per cent Hindu population should go.

“BJP will bring bulldozers to Telangana, once we come to power,” he said.

Attacking KCR and Kavitha, the BJP leader remarked that aboth father and daughter were crying after CBI issued notices to her in the Delhi liquor scam.

“KCR, no one can save you. We will send your corrupt family to jail,” he said.

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Telangana police stop state BJP Chief ahead of ‘padayatra’

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The Telangana Police has stopped state BJP President Bandi Sanjay Kumar when he was proceeding towards Bhainsa town to launch the fifth phase of ‘Praja Sangrama Yatra’ from Monday.

After denying permission for the yatra and the public meeting in Bhainsa town of Nirmal district, police stopped Bandi Sanjay and other leaders and party workers accompanying him and sent them back.

The convoy of Sanjay, who is also a Member of Parliament, was forced to stop near Tatipalli in Jagtiyal mandal. The police asked him to return citing lack of permission for the padyatra.

The BJP leader took strong objection to the police action. He evaded police and left in a vehicle of a party worker. The police then stopped him near Venkatapur in Korutla mandal. Agitated over this, Sanjay and his supporters staged a protest by squatting on the road.

Police detained the BJP leader and sent him back to Jagtiyal. He claimed that police initially granted permission but after all arrangements were made withdrew the same.

“They are saying Bhaina is a sensitive place. Is Bhainsa some prohibited area,” Sanjay asked.

Communally sensitive Bhainsa had seen communal riots on few occasions in the past and the police have the apprehension that the padyatra may disturb public order.

The state BJP Chief said he was returning to Karimnagar at the request of the police and would wait till Monday afternoon. He vowed to go ahead with the padyatra.

The BJP is said to be planning to approach the Telangana High Court on Monday to challenge the police order disallowing the padyatra.

The saffron party has condemned the police action against Bandi Sanjay. Adilabad MP Soyam Bapu Rao said the action reflects the autocratic rule in the state.

The fifth phase of padyatra was scheduled to start from Bhainsa. Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was invited to address the public meeting to mark the beginning of the padyatra.

The fifth phase of the walkathon is scheduled for 20 days. As per the schedule announced by the party, it will culminate at Karimnagar on December 17.

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Is BJP controlling Pawan through Chiranjeevi?

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The BJP leadership at the Centre is making strategic moves in Andhra Pradesh. Though the party has no signs of winning the election in the near future, they are working to emerge as the strong opposition party in the state.

The party national leadership is very particular on continuing the alliance with the Jana Sena for the years to come. Though Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan is tilting towards the TDP, the BJP wants to tighten its grip over the Jana Sena chief and keep him on their side.

To keep a check on Pawan Kalyan, the BJP leadership is being friendly with his brother Chiranjeevi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had invited Chiranjeevi to the Central government-sponsored programme at Bhimavaram in July this year.

It was after this meeting, Chiranjeevi made some political statements in favour of Pawan Kalyan and thus gave a signal that he too is behind his brother. This statement was politically significant as it tied the hands of Pawan Kalyan from taking decisions that might upset his elder brother.

The latest is that the Central government has given national recognition to Chiranjeevi. The government had recognised him as the film personality of the year 2022, which means a lot for the actor and his family.

After this recognition too, Chiranjeevi made quite interesting political remarks in favour of his younger brother Pawan Kalyan in politics. Chiranjeevi is having friendly relations with the BJP leadership and his support is quite important for Pawan Kalyan too in the next election. To keep his elder brother in good humour, Pawan Kalyan too would have to maintain cordial relations with the BJP.

The talk is that by keeping Chiranjeevi in good humour, the BJP wants to gain control over the Jana Sena chief. Sources say that Prime Minister Narendra Modi too had told the Jana Sena chief the same when they met in Visakhapatnam on November 11. Modi had categorically told the Jana Sena chief to keep a distance with the TDP to have the comfort of his brother Chiranjeevi and the BJP as well.

It is now to be seen if Pawan Kalyan would follow this advice or would go with the TDP as his inner soul tells him.

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Counter false propaganda of TRS, Kishan Reddy tells BJP cadres

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Union Minister for Tourism and Culture, G. Kishan Reddy, on Sunday asked the Telangana BJP leaders and cadres to effectively counter what he called false propaganda of the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).

He was addressing a three-day state-level training camp of the party which began at Shameerpet here on Sunday.

Kishan Reddy asked the party leaders to work hard to bring BJP to power in the state. He advised them to start working for the Assembly elections, scheduled to be held later next year.

Kishan Reddy, a member of Lok Sabha from Secunderabad, alleged that since TRS has nothing to tell people about the work done by its government in the state, it is resorting to false propaganda against the BJP.

The Central minister said TRS leaders are spreading lies about the party, adding that it is strange that a ruling party is criticising an opposition party.

Kishan Reddy alleged that the TRS won the by-election in Munugode by threatening people that if it is defeated, it will stop implementing welfare schemes.

On the third and final day of the training camp, BJP will hold its state executive meeting. It is likely to analyse the reasons for the party’s defeat in Munugode and decide the strategy to be adopted to take on the TRS.

The party leaders will discuss the latest political developments in the state and the strategy for the 2023 elections.

State BJP President Bandi Sanjay Kumar, national General Secretary and in-charge for Telangana Tarun Chugh, BJP MP K. Laxman, and national Vice President D.K. Aruna attended the meeting.

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TRS resorting to attacks out of fear of defeat: Kishan Reddy

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Union Tourism and Culture Minister G. Kishan Reddy on Friday alleged that the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) men attacked BJP MP D. Arvind’s house in Hyderabad out of fear of defeat in Assembly elections.

Kishan Reddy visited Arvind’s house on Friday evening and enquired about the attack by TRS men earlier in the day.

He told reporters that the TRS is resorting to attacks out of frustration and sense of insecurity.

He claimed that the TRS got surveys conducted and after realising that it is going to lose power, it started attacking BJP leaders.

“The Chief Minister should stop surveys till October next year as a sense of insecurity has gripped him and his party after seeing the result of surveys,” he said.

Kishan Reddy said that the attack is a proof of the goondaism and rowdyism of TRS and its power-induced arrogance.

Terming the attackAoutrageous and deplorable, the Union Minister said that the attack in the heart of the city and in MLA Colony shows where Telangana is heading.

Kishan Reddy also stated that there is no need for BJP to lure leaders from other parties.

State BJP President Bandi Sanjay also strongly condemned attack by ‘TRS goons’ on Nizamabad MP’s house.

Sanjay said he spoke to Arvind over phone. “TRS lacks guts to face us democratically and so is engaging in physical attacks and bullying. Don’t assume BJP’s patience as our incompetence,” he tweeted.

“BJP is not scared of attacks by TRS rowdies. Each karyakarta will rise against the atrocities of the TRS regime and will not tolerate it if TRS goons cross the limits. Day is not far off when people will throw sticks & stones at TRS,” he wrote.

BJP General Secretary and incharge for Telangana Tarun Chug said that attack on Nizamabad MP’s house is highly condemnable. He called it by shameful act by TRS rowdies. “This is sign of beginning of end for TRS govt in Telangana. Every Karyakarta is with Arvind Dharmapuri in fighting against the atrocities of TRS,” he tweeted.

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TRS MLAs’ poaching case: SIT summons BJP leader Santosh

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In a major development in MLAs’ poaching case, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Telangana Police has summoned BJP General Secretary B.L. Santosh.

The SIT has served notice to the BJP leader under Section 41A of the Criminal Procedure Code asking him to appear before it on November 21.

Santosh has been directed to come to the Police Command and Control Centre in Hyderabad at 10.30 a.m. The SIT has stated in the notice that if he fails to appear before it, he will be arrested.

Santosh’s name figured in the conversation between three alleged BJP agents arrested by the police last month while trying to lure four MLAs of the TRS to the BJP’s fold with an offer of huge money.

The SIT has already served notices to Kerala doctor Jaggu Swami, BDJS President Tushar Vellapally and a lawyer and relative of Telangana BJP President Bandi Sanjay Kumar for questioning.

All the four have been summoned on the same day. They have been asked to appear before SIT for questioning for their alleged links with the three accused arrested in the case last month, sources said.

Jaggu Kottilil alias Jaggu Swami is working in Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in Kochi while Tushar Vellapally is President of Kerala’s Bharath Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS).

A team, led by Nalgonda Superintendent of Police Rema Rajeshwari, a member of SIT, served the notices after its investigation in Kerala during the last five days.

The team served notice at Vellapally’s house in Alappuzha. Vellapally, whose BDJS is an ally of the BJP in Kerala, was not home.

The name of Vellapally, who had contested the 2019 Lok Sabha election from Wayanad against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, figured in the conversation the three accused had with the TRS MLAs.

The notice was pasted at the office and house of Jaggu Swami, who is reported to be absconding. The police team was in Kerala to question him as Ramachandra Bharati, the main accused reportedly confessed that Jaggu Swami was linked to the cash that was promised to the TRS MLAs as inducement.

SIT has also served a notice to Bhusarapu Srinivas, a lawyer from Karimnagar, who is said to be a distant relative of the Telangana BJP chief.

Srinivas had allegedly funded the flight expenses for Simhayaji, one of the three accused.

Ramachandra Bharati alias Satish Sharma, Simhayaji and Nandakumar were arrested by the Cyberabad police from a farmhouse at Moinabad near Hyderabad on the night of October 26 when they were allegedly trying to lure four MLAs of the TRS with offers of huge money.

Cyberabad police conducted the raid on a tip-off by Pilot Rohit Reddy, one of the MLAs. He alleged that the accused offered Rs 100 crore to him and Rs 50 crore each to three others.

The accused were booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Prevention of Corruption Act.

The Telangana High Court on Tuesday rejected the BJP plea to handover MLAs’ poaching case to the CBI but made the SIT probing the case independent.

The court also ruled that a single judge will monitor the investigation into the case.

It asked the SIT to submit a report to the court on November 29 on the progress of the investigation.

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KCR’s daughter claims BJP approached her with ‘Shinde model’

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Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s daughter K. Kavitha claimed on Friday that the BJP sent her a proposal for the ‘Shinde model’ in Telangana but she rejected it.

Kavitha, a member of the Telangana Legislative Council, told reporters that “friends” of the BJP approached her with the proposal.

The ‘Shinde model’ is a reference to the revolt in Shiv Sena in Maharashtra led by Eknath Shinde, who later became the Chief Minister.

“There have been proposals brought up to me by friends of BJP and friendly organizations of BJP asking me to join the party. The proposal is called Shinde-model. I said Telangana people do not betray their own parties and their own leaders. We will become leaders on our own strength not by backdoor,” Kavitha said.

“We have rejected their proposal very politely. What they will do after that is a different story. We are in public life. We are always among people and we will face them,” she added.

Kavitha revealed this two days after KCR, as the Chief Minister is popularly known, told a meeting of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leaders that the BJP lured her to switch loyalties.

BJP leaders have however, rejected the KCR’s claim.

BJP state president Bandi Sanjay said that even if KCR wants to join the BJP, the party will not accept him.

“We are not a party which indulges in liquor business and therefore have no business with KCR’s progeny,” BJP MP from Nizamabad, D. Arvind said in a tweet.

On Arvind’s claim that Kavitha approached Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge to join the party, she said that she has no interest in joining any other party.

“We have our party TRS which has become BRS. Tomorrow, it will work at the national level,” she said.

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BJP MP claim Modi’s magic in AP in 2024 poll

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The BJP leaders from Andhra Pradesh claimed that the state was moving slowly towards the BJP, particularly after the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the state. The leaders said that the magic of Modi would start working from the 2024 elections and soon the party in alliance with the Jana Sena would form the government.

BJP Rajya Sabha member, G V L Narasimha Rao, said that the political situation in Andhra Pradesh was fast changing after Modi’s visit to Visakhapatnam. The BJP and the Jana Sena together were reaching out to the people and the people too were looking towards the two parties, he said.

He claimed that both the TDP and the YSR Congress were losing the confidence of the people with their corruption and the family rule. The two parties have failed to develop the state, he said and asserted that the BJP as a national party would soon end the family parties’ rule in the state.

He emphasised the need to free the people of Andhra Pradesh from the family rule of the TDP and the YSR Congress. He said that these two family parties were exploiting the people with the leaders amassing huge wealth.

Narasimha Rao said that the BJP is preparing a chargesheet on the corruption of the ruling YSR Congress in the state. The BJP and the Jana Sena would work together to wrest the power in the state from the family parties, he asserted.

Narasimha Rao accused the YSR Congress of indulging in heavy corruption in the state, particularly in the housing programme. He wondered why the government had not started the housing programme even though the Central government had sanctioned 25 lakh houses and is ready to give Rs 35000 crore to the state.

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Munugode defeat a blow to BJP’s Telangana plans

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Failure of BJP to repeat its Huzurabad success in Munugode has dealt a blow to its efforts to emerge as the only viable alternative to the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and gain a psychological edge ahead of the next year’s Assembly elections.

It’s no secret that imposing a by-election in Munugode was a calculated move by the BJP to ride on Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy’s popularity in the constituency to score a hat-trick of bypoll victories and send a message that it alone can defeat the KCR-led government.

The importance attached to this bypoll by the BJP was evident from the fact that Union Home Minister Amit Shah had personally visited Munugode to welcome Rajagopal Reddy into BJP and urged people to elect him. Shah had also predicted that within a month of Rajagopal’s win, the TRS government in the state would collapse.

The BJP was confident as a similar strategy had paid off in Huzurabad last year. Eatala Rajender, who had defected to the BJP after being dropped from the state Cabinet, won the seat as BJP candidate in the election held last year. This was a personal victory for Rajender, who has been representing the seat since 2009.

Cashing in on the public support he enjoyed in the constituency, Rajender retained the seat. However, the BJP used this win to project itself as a potent political force which can challenge TRS.

Huzurabad win came a year after the BJP won the first by-election in Dubbak by a narrow margin to wrest the seat from TRS. After this win, though considered by many as a flash in the pan, BJP started to see a realistic chance of emerging as a key force.

This was followed by BJP’s impressive performance in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Election (GHMC). The party, which roped in its top central leaders including Amit Shah and party president J. P. Nadda, running an aggressive campaign, drastically improved its tally in the 150-member municipal body to 48 from just four in the previous elections.

In the 2018 Assembly elections held a few months before they were originally scheduled, TRS had retained power by winning 88 seats. BJP could win just one seat. It finished second in only nine constituencies and in most of the seats its candidates forfeited the deposit.

However, BJP sprang a surprise in Lok Sabha elections held a few months later. The party not only retained Secunderabad but also wrested three other seats from TRS – Karimnagar, Nizamabad and Adilabad.

The victories in Dubbak and Huzurabad Assembly by-elections and the good show in GHMC polls further boosted the morale of the saffron party. It increased the focus on the state with ‘Mission 2023′ to come to power in Telangana and make it the second gateway to South India for the party after Karnataka.

As part of this strategy, BJP held the national executive in Hyderabad in June this year. A series of visits by top leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and J. P. Nadda to Telangana before and after the national executive lifted the spirits of BJP cadres.

With KCR stepping up its attacks on Narendra Modi and BJP and deciding to enter national politics, the BJP leadership tried to take the fight to his home turf to checkmate him.

Luring Rajagopal Reddy to join its ranks and imposing a by-election in Munugode is believed to be a part of this strategy.

The TRS went all out to prevent a repeat of Huzurabad and thus put brakes on the saffron surge. KCR’s party aexposed’ Rajagopal Reddy citing his own admission in an interview that his family firm Sushi Infra bagged Rs.18,000 crore contract from the Centre.

TRS working president K. T. Rama Rao went to the extent of claiming that Rajagopal Reddy assured Amit Shah that he will spend Rs 500 crore to win the bypoll.

The arrest of three alleged BJP agents in Hyderabad on October 26 while trying to buy four MLAs of the TRS caused embarrassment to the saffron party in the midst of the poll campaign.

Though the BJP leaders called the MLAs poaching case a drama orchestrated by KCR due to fear of defeat in Munugode, the saffron party has gone on the defensive.

KCR claims to have not only foiled the BJP’s conspiracy to topple his government but also collected evidence of its plans to topple governments in Delhi, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan.

With KCR determined to press for a thorough investigation into the explosive admissions made by the BJP agents and taking the issue to the national level by appealing to the Chief Justice of India, other Supreme Court judges and chief justices of all high courts to save democracy in the country, the BJP may find the going tough in foreseeable future.

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AP BJP in confused state, as Modi visit scheduled for Nov 11

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The AP State leadership of the BJP is in utter confusion over the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The ruling YSR Congress had completely hijacked the programme as the Prime Minister was visiting Visakhapatnam for official programmes.

Minister Gudivada Amarnadh and MP V Vijayasai Reddy are coordinating with the officials and making arrangements for the visit and the programme. The Prime Minister would also address a public meeting on the day after launching several developmental projects worth about a few hundred crores of rupees.

The YSR Congress leaders and the state government have taken the Prime Minister’s visit as a major task and would give an official reception to Narendra Modi on the day at Visakhapatnam. The officials have also made elaborate security arrangements for the public meeting at Andhra University Engineering College grounds.

However, what is missing is the involvement of the State BJP leaders in making arrangements for the mega event. The officials have not yet sent invitations to the State BJP leaders. They have not even invited the party state unit president Somu Veerraju to have talks on the preparatory works.

As the Prime Minister is set to launch some major developmental works, the state BJP leadership wanted to take the credit and use it for the impending Graduate MLC elections in Uttarandhra region. The seat is currently being represented by the BJP and it wants to retain the seat. While working towards this end, the BJP leaders wanted the Prime Minister programme to give added advantage, they are not involved in the programme yet.

There is unrest among the State BJP leaders, and they have sent a complaint to the party national leadership. The BJP leaders want the Central government and the national leadership of the party to involve the party leadership in the arrangements as well so that the event would give additional benefits to the party.

It is to be seen whether the YSR Congress would allow the BJP to get involved in the event as it is an official programme between the State government and the Central government. As of now, the State government wants to extend an invitation to the State BJP president, local MLC and a couple of others when the Prime Minister arrives in the port city.

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Munugode by-election: TRS maintains lead in tight race

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The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) continued to maintain a lead over the Bharataiya Janata Party at the end of sixth round of counting of votes in Munugode Assembly by-election.

In a neck and neck race, TRS candidate K. Prabhakar Reddy was leading by 2,169 votes against his nearest rival K. Rajagopal Reddy.

With nine more rounds to go, leaders of both the parties were keeping their fingers crossed over the outcome in the crucial by-election, seen by many as a semifinal ahead of next year’s Assembly polls.

At the end of sixth round, TRS had polled 38,521 votes while BJP secured 36,352 votes. The Congress party was at a distant third position with 11,894 votes.

The TRS candidate took a comfortable lead in the first round. Prabhakar Reddy had secured 6,418 while BJP’s Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy polled 5,126 votes. Congress party’s Palvai Sravanthi was third with 2,100 votes.

However, in the second round, the BJP took the lead of 841 votes. It polled 8,622 votes while TRS garnered 7,781 votes. Congress was again a distant third with 1,537 votes. However, TRS took a cumulative lead of 451 votes.

The BJP polled more votes than TRS in the third round but from the fourth round, the TRS regained the lead and maintained it in the fifth and sixth rounds.

There will be a total 15 rounds of counting. The counting of votes began at 8 a.m. Sunday amid tight security. The poll officials first took up counting of postal ballots.

A voter turnout of 93.13 per cent was recorded in the bitterly contested bypoll on Thursday. This surpassed 91.31 per cent polling recorded in the constituency in 2018 polls.

Out of a total 2,41,805 voters, 2,25,192 voters cast their votes. This does not include the postal ballots.

Though there were a total of 47 candidates in the fray, the main contest was among three major players – TRS, BJP and Congress.

The bypoll was necessitated after sitting MLA Rajagopal Reddy resigned from the Congress to join the BJP in August. This time he contested on the BJP ticket.

The TRS fielded former MLA Prabhakar Reddy, who had lost to Rajagopal Reddy in 2018.

The Congress party fielded Palvai Sravanthi Reddy, daughter of former MP Palvai Goverdhan Reddy.

In 2018, Rajagopal Reddy had won Munugode seat on Congress ticket, defeating his nearest rival Prabhakar Reddy of TRS by 23,552 votes.

Rajagopal Reddy had polled 99,239 votes while Prabhakar Reddy secured 61,687 votes. G. Manohar Reddy of BJP had bagged 12,725 votes.

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T’gana BJP leaders irked over delay in declaring trends

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The leaders of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday lodged a protest with the Telangana Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) over the delay announcing round-wise results in Munugode Assembly by-election.

State BJP president Bandi Sanjay alleged that CEO Vikas Raj’s conduct was raising suspicions. He said that round-wise results were being announced only if Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) was in the lead. “When the BJP candidate is taking the lead, round-wise details are not being released,” he said.

He wanted to know why the CEO failed to update the results in the second and third rounds after declaring the outcome of the first and second rounds. Sanjay, who is also a Member of Parliament, said never in the past such delay in updating results was reported.

Sanjay said the CEO was releasing the round-wise figures of votes polled by the candidates only after pressure from the media. He said if there was any irregularity in counting and declaration of results, the BJP would lodge a complaint with the Election Commission of India.

Meanwhile, Union minister for tourism and culture G. Kishan Reddy spoke to the CEO over phone and expressed his unhappiness over the delay in announcing round-wise results. He questioned the CEO on why he was not announcing the results at the end of every round.

The poll officials, however, dismissed the criticism and clarified that counting was underway in a transparent manner. They attributed the delay in announcing round-wise results to the presence of a large number of candidates.

A total of 47 candidates are in fray in Munugode. In the neck and neck battle, TRS candidate K. Prabhakar Reddy was leading by a narrow margin over his nearest rival Rajagopal Reddy of the BJP.

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Telangana BJP president arrested on way to Munugode

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Telangana state BJP president Bandi Sanjay was detained by police on the outskirts of Hyderabad early Thursday, when he was heading to Munugode Assembly constituency where polling began this morning.

Alleging that non-local leaders of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) were continuing to stay in the constituency even after campaigning ended on Tuesday, he, along with his supporters, tried to proceed towards the constituency in Nalgonda district this morning.

There was high drama after Sanjay and other BJP leaders left the party office in Hyderabad. Despite the attempts by police to stop them at Malakpet and Vanasthalipuram, they moved ahead.

The police finally stopped his convoy of vehicles on Hyderabad-Vijayawada highway at Abdullapurmet. There was an argument between BJP leaders and police officers.

Tension prevailed as BJP leaders resisted police attempts to arrest them. Raising slogans against the government, Sanjay and others sat on the road. The police finally arrested Sanjay and shifted him to Abdullapurmet police station.

Sanjay, who is also a Member of Parliament, alleged that election authorities and police were not taking any action against TRS leaders who remained in Munugode on the polling day.

BJP candidate Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy also staged a protest in Munugode late Wednesday night demanding the police to send out all non-local TRS leaders. He, along with his supporters, staged a sit-in in front of the office of the returning officer. He also alleged that the election officials were taking no action against TRS leaders who are intimidating voters.

The BJP candidate later staged a protest at Chandur police station. He called off the protest after police officers gave an assurance that they will look into his complaint.

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BJP, TRS workers clash ahead of bypoll

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Workers of BJP and TRS clashed on Tuesday in Telangana’s Munugode Assembly constituency where a by-election is scheduled on Thursday.

Few workers of both the parties were injured in the incident that occurred at Pulivela when leaders of both the parties were busy campaigning.

Some supporters of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) allegedly pelted stones on the convoy of BJP MLA Eatala Rajender who was campaigning in the village.

Both the groups attacked each other with stones and sticks. Police intervened to disperse the clashing groups.

Both the parties blamed each other for the attack. Rajender, who was earlier with TRS, alleged that ruling party workers attacked him when he along with his wife came to the village to have lunch with the people. He claimed that two MLAs of ruling party and two Zilla Parishad chairpersons were behind the attack.

The former minister claimed that 30 people including his security personnel and personal assistant were injured. He said 10-15 vehicles were also damaged in the attack.

BJP’s publicity vehicle was also damaged in the attack. The BJP MLA said the BJP cadres acted with restraint. “We are against physical attacks. Our party is running the election campaign in a democratic manner,” he said.

Union Minister for Tourism and Culture G. Kishan Reddy also condemned the attack by TRS men. He said the TRS was resorting to physical attacks due to fear of losing the by-election. He claimed that despite the violence by the TRS, the BJP will win the four Assembly by-election in the state.

Meanwhile, TRS blamed BJP for the attack. Minister for finance and health T. Harish Rao said since TRS enjoyed people’s support, BJP had become desperate. He urged the party cadres to act with restraint in view of the polling.

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Audio clip surfaces in ‘MLAs poaching’ case

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In another twist in ‘MLAs poaching’ case, an audio of telephonic conversation between the main accused and a TRS MLA surfaced on Friday.

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leaked the audio of purported conversation between Ramachandra Bharati, alias Satish Sharma alias Swamiji, and Pilot Rohit Reddy, the MLA who tipped-off the Cyberabad police about the attempt to buy him and three other MLAs resulting in the arrest of three alleged agents of BJP.

The names of BJP general secretary B. L. Santhosh and ‘Number two’ figured in the telephonic conversation about the deal to buy the MLAs.

The conversation, which was also joined by second accused Nanda Kumar alias Nandu, took place before the accused met four TRS MLAs at a farmhouse near Hyderabad on Wednesday.

During the conversation, Swamiji is heard telling Rohit Reddy that once the abulk’ is ready, ASantosh can come to Hyderabad to finalise it. Swamiji also informed Rohit that Santosh had gone to Ahmedabad with ‘Number two’.

“Can you share the names with number two,” asked Swamiji when Rohit Reddy was reluctant to share the names of other MLAs ready to switch loyalties.

Swamiji also assured the MLA that the Centre will give complete protection from the Centre. “It is our responsibility to take care of you. When you are under our scanner, you don’t have to worry, including from ED to the income tax. We have good experience in Bengal,” the MLA was told.

Ramachandra Bharati of Delhi, Nanda Kumar of Hyderabad and Simhayaji Swamy were arrested by the police during a raid on a farmhouse at Moinabad near Hyderabad on Wednesday night.

The accused said to be close to some top BJP leaders were trying to lure four MLAs of the TRS with offers huge sums of money, important positions and contracts.

In his complaint to police, Rohit Reddy alleged that they offered Rs 100 crore to him and Rs50 crore each to three other MLAs.

The incident triggered tremor in state politics ahead of the November 3 by-election to Munugode Assembly seat as the TRS claimed a conspiracy by BJP to topple its government had been foiled.

The saffron party, however, denied the allegations and claimed that Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao orchestrated a drama to tarnish its image for electoral gain in Munugode.

The police produced the accused before a judge at his residence on Thursday night with a petition to remand them to judicial custody.

The judge, however, rejected the police petition for sending the accused to judicial custody, citing lack of evidence. He observed that the Prevention of Corruption Act does not apply to the case as there is no evidence of bribe money.

The judge told police to issue notices to the accused under Section 41 of Criminal Procedure Code for questioning.

On the judge’s orders, police released all the three accused. They were subsequently issued notices directing them to appear before police within 24 hours. The police also moved the Telangana High Court challenging the order of the lower court.

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BJP, TRS two sides of same coin: Rahul

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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday slammed both BJP and TRS, describing them as two sides of the same coin.

He alleged that both the parties are anti-democratic, buys MLAs and topple governments.

The Congress MP was addressing a meeting in Narayanpet district of Telangana as part of his Bharat Jodo Yatra.

“I want to make it clear that for us both BJP and TRS are the same. They are two sides of the same coin. You need to understand that both parties work together. They help each other. In Delhi, TRS helps BJP and in Telangana, BJP supports TRS,” he said.

“Both are anti-democratic parties. They practice politics of money, buy MLAs and topple governments,” he added.

Rahul Gandhi’s comments came a day after three persons were arrested in Hyderabad while trying to lure four MLAs of TRS with offer of huge sums of money to defect to BJP.

The TRS has alleged that it was a conspiracy by BJP to buy the MLAs to destabilise its government in the state but the saffron party has denied the allegation.

Rahul Gandhi recalled that whatever Bill Prime Minister Narendra Modi wanted to pass in the Parliament, the TRS extended its full support. “The three black laws on agriculture were fully supported by the TRS. In the Assembly, we brought a resolution against the three farm laws but TRS did not support it,” he said.

He stated that BJP and TRS are not political parties but businesses who loot public money but don’t do anything good for people.

The Congress MP also remarked that the TRS government in Telangana is perhaps the country’s most corrupt government. He referred to the Rs 15,000 crore Miyapur land scam and the corruption in Kaleshwaram project.

Rahul Gandhi said Telangana farmers say that TRS in Telangana is doing what BJP is doing at the Centre.

After a three-day break, Rahul resumed the Bharat Jodo Yatra on Thursday, which also marked completion of 50 days of Kanyakumari to Kashmir walkathon.

During the day, the Congress leader walked up to 26 km and interacted with farmers, fishermen and beedi workers.

Former Indian cricket captain and Congress leader Mohammad Azharuddin also joined the yatra on Thursday.

Rahul Gandhi alleged that Telangana and the country are witnessing highest-ever corruption and unemployment. He claimed that demonetisation and GST broke the backbone of providing employment in the country.

“Employment is mainly provided by small and medium businesses but demonetization and GST forced closure of lakhs of small and medium businesses. Today, even if the country and Telangana want to provide employment, they can’t. This is the ground reality,” he said.

He said people were suffering due to unemployment on one side and price rise on the other.

“Petrol and diesel prices have gone up. When the price of a cooking gas cylinder was Rs 400, Narendra Modi used to criticize us. Today, the price has gone up to Rs 1,000 but he does not utter a word,” he said.

He told people that the aim of Bharat Jodo Yatra is to stand up to the hatred and violence being spread in the country.

He stated that walking 3,500 km is not an easy task but the love and affection shown by people has made it easy. He said with the strength given by the people, walking for 7-8 hours every day has become easy for him.

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MLAs poaching case: BJP moves HC for CBI probe

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In another dramatic twist in the case relating to alleged attempt to poach four MLAs of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the BJP on Thursday moved the Telangana High Court seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

With the TRS alleging that the three men arrested while trying to lure its MLAs belonged to the BJP, the saffron party hit back by approaching the high court seeking direction to transfer the case to the central agency for a ‘fair’ probe.

In its petition, the BJP found fault with the manner in which police are conducting the probe and pleaded for interim orders to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) for an impartial investigation.

The BJP has made the state government, Director General of Police, Cyberabad police commissioner, other police officials, union government and the CBI as respondents in the case.

The saffron party alleged that attempts are being made to tarnish its image by making false accusations of trying to buy TRS MLAs.

Cyberabad police on Wednesday arrested three persons from a farmhouse at Moinabad near Hyderabad when they were allegedly trying to lure four TRS MLAs to defect to BJP.

On a complaint by one of the MLAs Pilot Rohit Reddy, police registered a case against Ramachandra Bharati, alias Satish Sharma, of Delhi, Nanda Kumar of Hyderabad and Simhayaji Swamy of Tirupati.

The TRS leaders have alleged that the two godmen and businessman Nanda Kumar are close to union ministers and top BJP leaders.

Police have booked the accused for criminal conspiracy), bribery and criminal intimidation under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Prevention of Corruption Act.

According to the complainant, the accused offered him Rs 100 crore, central government civil contract works and other high central government positions for monetary benefits.

Rohit Reddy told police that the accused warned him that if he does not join the BJP, there will be criminal cases and raids by ED/CBI and the Telangana government led by TRS will be toppled by them. He said the accused offered Rs 50 crore each to the three other MLAs.

On a tip-off by Rohit Reddy, Cyberabad police reached the farmhouse and arrested the three accused.

The police seized mobile phones of the accused and were retrieving call data.

The trio were being questioned by the police at an undisclosed location. They will be produced in a court later in the day.

The arrests have created a political storm in the state with the TRS alleging conspiracy by BJP to destabilise the government.

The BJP, however, has denied the allegations and dared the TRS government to order a probe by CBI or a sitting judge of the Supreme Court.

Union minister G. Kishan Reddy has alleged that CM KCR scripted the poaching drama to malign BJP and demanded that the police reveal details like the amount of cash seized from three persons arrested in the case.

Dismissing the allegations that BJP tried to lure four TRS MLAs with huge sums of money, important positions and contracts, he said BJP would have gained nothing by making four MLAs defect to the party.

He wondered why the police were not revealing how much money was seized and where it came from.

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Kishan Reddy dismisses allegations that BJP tried to lure four TRS MLAs

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Union Minister for Tourism and Culture G. Kishan Reddy on Thursday alleged that the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) scripted poaching drama to malign BJP, and demanded that the police reveal details like the amount of cash seized from three persons arrested in the case.

Dismissing the allegations that BJP tried to lure four TRS MLAs with huge sums of money, important positions and contracts, he said BJP would have gained nothing by making four MLAs to defect to the party.

He wondered why the police were not revealing how much money was seized and where it came from.

Addressing a news conference, the minister denied any links with the accused in the case.

Cyberabad Police on Wednesday arrested three persons from a farmhouse at Moinabad near Hyderabad when they were allegedly trying to lure four TRS MLAs to make them defect to BJP.

On a complaint by one of the MLAs, Pilot Rohit Reddy, police registered a case against Ramachandra Bharati alias Satish Sharma of Delhi, Nanda Kumar of Hyderabad and Simhayaji Swamy of Tirupati.

TRS leaders have alleged that Nanda Kumar is close to Kishan Reddy.

The Union Minister said the police should reveal details if the money belonged to TRS MLAs or it came from Chief Minister KCR’s farmhouse.

He said if KCR was sincere, he should order a probe into the case by sitting judge of the Supreme Court or by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Launching a counter attack on TRS, the BJP ladder said it was TRS which promoted defections. “Has TRS not lured many MLAs and MPs to join its ranks. How much the party paid to 12 MLAs of Congress who joined TRS in the past,” he asked.

He alleged that TRS was resorting to the drama due to fear of losing Munugode by-election. He claimed that BJP enjoyed people’s support and that TRS will not win the November 3 by-election even if it spends thousands of crores.

He alleged that TRS leader KTR telephoned a BJP leader of Munugode to lure him to join TRS.

Kishan Reddy said the TRS played same tactics in Dubbak by-election but BJP emerged victorious. He was confident that the same result will be repeated in Munugode.

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T’gana poaching drama: Three booked for bribery, criminal conspiracy

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Cyberabad police have registered a case against three men arrested from a farmhouse near Hyderabad while trying to lure four MLAs of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) with offers of huge sums of cash, important positions and contracts.

The arrests were made on Wednesday.

On a complaint by one of the MLAs Pilot Rohit Reddy, police registered an FIR against Ramachandra Bharati alias Satish Sharma of Delhi, Nanda Kumar of Hyderabad and Simhayaji Swamy of Tirupati.

The case has been registered under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 171-B (bribery) read with 171-E (punishment of bribery), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) read with 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) and section 8 of Prevention of Corruption Act.

According to the complainant, Ramachandra Bharati and Nanda Kumar belonging to the BJP met him and negotiated with him not to contest as candidate from the TRS and to join BJP by resigning from the TRS and to contest in the next elections from the BJP for which they offered him an amount of Rs 100 crore. They also offered to give central government civil contract works and other high central government positions for monetary benefits and lured him to join the BJP.

The MLA told police that they stated that if he does not join the BJP, there will be criminal cases and raids by ED/CBI and the Telangana government led by TRS will be toppled by them. Since the inducement of bribe of a political party is unethical, undemocratic and encourages corruption and polluting the politics, he decided not to entertain such unethical practice by the above persons, says the FIR.

On October 26, the two accused again contacted Rohit Reddy and informed him that they are coming to his farm house at Aziz Nagar, Moinabad in the afternoon for negotiations. They also asked him to mobilise some other TRS MLAs for offering them bribes of Rs 50 crore each to join the BJP. They also further induced him and other MLAs to receive amounts and to discharge their public duties improperly and dishonestly so that the TRS government is destabilised. They informed that three persons — Ramachandra Bharati, Nanda Kumar and Simhayaji Swamy — would come to the farmhouse to finalise the deal of joining the BJP by resigning from the TRS.

On a tip-off by Rohit Reddy, Cyberabad police reached the farmhouse and arrested the three accused.

The trio were being questioned by the police at an undisclosed location. They will be produced in a court later in the day.

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Poaching drama triggers TRS-BJP slugfest

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The poaching drama that unfolded in Hyderabad on Wednesday night has triggered a slugfest between the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

After three persons, including two godmen, were detained from a farmhouse near Hyderabad while trying to lure four MLAs of TRS with offers of huge sums of cash, important positions and contracts, the TRS accused BJP of trying to destabilise the state government and called it an attack on self-respect of Telangana.

As word spread about a police raid on the farm house and those detained being close to the BJP leaders, TRS leaders, including ministers took to streets in different parts of the state to stage a protest against the saffron party. They staged a road blockade and raised slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Those detained at the farmhouse are Ramachandra Bharati alias S. Satish Sharma from Delhi and Simhayajulu from Tirupati, both godmen and Nanda Kumar, a businessman from Hyderabad said to be close to a Union minister.

The TRS leaders alleged that the BJP was trying to topple the government in Telangana just as it did in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and other states by luring the MLAs with cash, important positions and contracts.

The ruling party alleged that each MLA was offered a deal to the tune of Rs 100 crore. Some of the TRS leaders posted on Twitter photographs of the accused with top BJP leaders, including Union ministers Rajnath Singh, G. Kishan Reddy and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

The saffron party hit back at TRS for what it calls insulting Hindu dharma by pointing fingers at godmen.

State BJP chief Bandi Sanjay Kumar alleged that the ‘story, screenplay and direction’ at Moinabad farmhouse is by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao. “It has boomeranged. TRS are complainants, TRS are victims and TRS are criminals,” he said.

He dared CM KCR to come to Yadadri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple and swear that he has not ‘scripted this story’.

He slammed KCR for dragging priests into the episode and alleged that he was attempting to taint the image of Hindu dharma.

He demanded that the CCTV footage of a hotel should be released where TRS MLAs were staying for the last 3-4 days. He also demanded that CCTV footage of Pragati Bhavan, the official residence of the chief minister, should be released as the MLAs had been going there every day.

The BJP leader also wanted to know why the police did not record the statements of the MLAs. “Why weren’t they taken to the police station but left to Pragati Bhavan. What were MLAs gunmen doing,” he asked.

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