The series of attacks by YSRCP activists on TDP offices and houses of TDP leaders in Andhra Pradesh in broad daylight on Tuesday (today) has created a furore across the country.
Doubts were already expressed whether the electronic voting machines (EVMs) were being tampered and misused to change the actual verdict of the people in favour of specific parties. This has also happened in case of recent Telangana early polls in which the KCR party has won a massive victory. AP CM Chandrababu Naidu says like Telangana, there were suspicions on the functioning of EVMs in many other state elections.
Even in the most vibrant democracy in America, there is still ballot paper-based voting and counting. Many political leaders have been objecting to the EVMs in India right from the beginning. CBN argues that the companies making the EVMs have a chance to tamper the machines by misusing the chips that are used in them. He has been fighting against the EVMs based voting which was one of the reasons VVPAT slips were introduced later but this is also not being utilised well to ensure transparency.
Naidu demands that at least the old fool-proof, reliable system of ballot paper should be brought back in the 2019 general elections when AP Assembly will also go to polls. In a democracy, the true will of the people should be reflected in the polling process with no scope for diversions and tampering. Naidu asks what wrong is there to go back to old systems which are still being practiced in advanced democracies like the US.
Among the BJP leaders, its spokesperson and MP GVL Narasimha Rao is always quick to criticise AP CM Chandrababu Naidu on every subject, big or small. Now GVL has selected the ‘Phethai’ cyclone subject to attack Naidu. CBN is not available in Amaravati capital city as he has to go and attend the swearing-in ceremonies of the newly elected chief ministers of Congress party in several states.
In his place, Naidu’s son Lokesh and other Ministers have monitored the damages due to cyclone and directing officials and employees to take up relief operations. GVL has said Naidu should have stayed back and stand by the side of the people in their hour of need as the very severe cyclone has ravaged different parts in north coastal areas. Instead of rescuing people, CBN is preferring to attend Congress CMs’ functions, GVL blamed.
GVL is keeping a low profile these few weeks considering the anti-BJP sentiment which is rising among the AP people because of the campaign by the TDP leaders over special status and bifurcation promises. After the Telangana polls, the BJP leaders are once again turning their focus on AP. The party suffered reverses in Telangana elections as it could win only in one seat as against the TDP’s two seats. Now the BJP is preparing for a bigger challenge in AP Assembly polls in 2019.
AP CM and TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu is making a whirlwind tour of Hyderabad city to campaign for candidates of Prajakutami alliance. He is making a bitter attack on the TRS and the BJP, saying while Chandrasekhara Rao betrayed Telangana people, Prime Minister Modi betrayed India as a whole. CBN accused KCR and Modi of resorting to politics of collusion and betrayal which will be rejected by the people in the election.
CBN deplored the TRS government has done nothing to protect and maintain development that the earlier TDP government has brought in Hyderabad city. He reminded under his regime, the wealth of the twin cities had gone up by leaps and bounds but now the situation has become pitiful. CBN asserted he played instrumental role in laying the 165-km long Outer Ring Road, in bringing Metro Rail services and also implementing Vision document for greater development.
CBN gave a call to defeat the BJP and the TRS candidates, saying the TDP has tied up with the Congress party setting aside 37 long years of intense rivalry and this is done solely in the larger interests of the Indian people. The Prajakutami candidates are heavily banking on CBN election meetings and road shows in Hyderabad city considering his huge following and image here.
As the architect of HiTech City and Cyberabad, Naidu is still popular among the urban residents in twin cities which is one reason the allies are making sure he covers maximum number of road shows. CBN has expressed confidence their alliance will win all the assembly segments in the city limits
Telugu Desam supremo and Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu is planning to be the national face of the anti-Modi team, representing the regional parties. Though this role was planned initially by Telangana Rastra Samiti president and Telangana chief minister Chandrasekhar Rao, the mantle fell on Chandrababu Naidu at the Bengaluru conclave.
Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Benerji had given this task to Chandrababu Naidu to rally the regional parties together, where Chandrasekhar Rao was absent. The TRS chief, who wanted to build the third front or secular front with the regional parties as an alternative to the NDA and UPA, skipped this Bengaluru meet, only to avoid coming face to face with Sonia Gandhi. He felt it would be embarrassing for him to meet Sonia to whom he had promised to merge his TRS with the Congress if Telangana is given. Trusting him and several other Congress leaders Sonia had gone against all odds and bifurcated the State.
As promised, Chandrasekhar Rao did not merge his party and the Congress could not win either Telangana or Andhra Pradesh. It might take a couple of elections for Congress to come back to power in Telangana, but it would require a couple of decades for the party to win in Andhra Pradesh. This is what Chandrasekhar Rao had done to the Congress and for which he could not face Sonia Gandhi.
His absence at Bengaluru had cost him dearly as Chandrababu Naidu had taken advantage of the situation. The three-day annual Mahanadu of the TDP is set to give him the national face and project him as challenger of the mighty Narendra Modi, who is sure of second term for him. Though Chandrababu Naidu is not ready to leave the State for a national role, it is equally important for him to emerge as challenger to Modi if not alternative.
The Telugu Desam Party had carefully drafted its political resolutions where it is set to hit Narendra Modi hard at the national level and emphasise Chandrababu Naidu’s role for the State. The election is crucial for Chandrababu Naidu as he had to promote his son Lokesh as his successor or else the young leader would have to sit in Opposition all through. Thus this Mahanadu is very important for the TDP and Chandrababu Naidu where he would have to draft his strategy to challenge Modi on one side and lead his party to victory in the State on the other.
Andhra Pradesh government is all set to convert 29,000 existing ‘fair price shops’ into ‘Anna Village Malls’. In the first phase 6,500 ‘Anna Village Malls’ would-be setup across the state. Engaging the two corporate giants ‘Reliance Retail’ and ‘Future Group’ to handle these village malls, will be cited as an example of cronyism designed to benefit the Nara family.
In November 2016, Kishore Biyani-led ‘Future Retail Limited’ group announced that they were obtaining loss-making retail segment of ‘Heritage Foods Ltd’. In return Heritage received 1.8 crore shares which accounts to about 3.65 percent of Future Retail’s stakes. This all-equity transaction was reportedly a win-win situation.
Another such transaction in October2016 was the acquisition of the dairy business of ‘Reliance Retail’ by Heritage. The acquisition was completed in April2017 through a slump sale.
Therefore Heritage, a company promoted by the family members of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, will now receive indirect monetary benefit, from any deals that help these two groups.
Giving the ‘Anna Village Malls’ to Future group in which ‘Heritage group’ owns stake would be sort of cronyism designed to benefit the Nara family. As the Chief Minister cannot give the project to the firm in which his family has 3.65% ownership.
If these two firms continue to work on this ambitious project, Naidu being the Chief Minister will come across as a facilitator of crony capitalism. Also, the first family will be surrounded by controversy for securing monetary benefit out of the deals in the disguise of welfare schemes.
One needs to wait and see, how Naidu answers the possible and obvious accusations on this deal.
Centre’s meager special assistance to Andhra Pradesh started stirring up resentment among the intellectuals of Andhra Pradesh. First to react was former union power secretary and environmentalist EAS Sarma from Vizag. Sarma expressed strong displeasure at the centre’s meager special assistance and described this as highly discriminatory. In this back drop chief minister Naidu’s extravagant capital construction along with Pattiseema project would only rob the backward regions of Rayalaseema and North Coastal Andhra of their legitimate share of funds, he said. Cautioning Naidu of serious political repercussions, Sarma today dashed off a letter to CM Naidu and asked him stop his Guntur-Krishna centric programs. He was especially unhappy with quantum of funds allocated for the development of backward regions of North Coastal AP and Rayalaseema.
“The allocation of Rs 350 cr for seven districts indicative of grave injustice being meted out to the people of these region,” he said. “The State government has already diverted a huge chunk of the budgetary resources to the tune of Rs 1500 crore for constructing the Pattiseema Lift Irrigation Project that will once again benefit the farmers of Krishna District at the cost of the other regions. Similarly, the huge and extravagant expenditure that is being incurred on the capital city project has already dented the budget at the expense of the people of north AP and Rayalaseema and the latest announcement by the Centre has further accentuated the bias against the two regions,” he wrote in the letter.
He said the state government under Naidu’s leadership had assumed the role of diverting resources from north AP and Rayalaseema to the Krishna-Guntur region in a highly questionable manner. The way your government has been syphoning off funds from north AP and Rayalaseema is not only detrimental from the point of view of regional equity but also from the point of view of spending adequate funds on crucial secttors such as health, education, social welfare, especially the welfare of the SCs/ STs/ OBCs. As a result of the extravagant expenditure incurred on the capital city project, the State treasury has been under an intense stress and several welfare schemes stand starved of funds,” he said. Stating that the centre had decided this pattern of allocation of funds after many meetings with chief minister Naidu in the past two days, the bureaucrat said this might have Naidu’s concurrence.
Describing the capital city project as a millstone around the neck of the people of AP.
“There is a proposal now to divert Krishna water to feed the capital city, involving a huge expenditure. There are reports that additional expenditure will have to be incurred on raising the level of some parts of the project area to prevent flooding. In all these matters, the public has been kept in the dark,” Sarma added.
He cautioned chief minister that state government was rushing into acts of regional discrimination and would not augur well for the future. He referred to the great deal of dissatisfaction being created among the people of north AP and Rayalaseema, who can no longer acquiesce.
Chief minister Chandrababu Naidu , who is determined to shift the temporary capital as early as possible to Vijayawada, has asked the officials to identify the residential accommodation to the employees willing to come to Vijayawada immediately. He also asked the officials to explore possibility of plying special buses between Vijayawada – Hyderabad to help employees to visit their families frequently.
Residential accommodation is still posing a major problem to shift the government to Vijayawada. The committee headed by principal secretary K S Jawahar Reddy, which is looking into the matter of early shifting of the temporary capital informed chief minister Naidu that about 12,000 employees need to be shifted immediately to make the temporary capital functional in Vijaywada. He also informed that Medha Towers has ready-to-occupy space for official purposes and it should be notified as SEZ so that it can be used for government offices.
Chief Minister asked them to explore an option of having special buses from Hyderabad to the Capital Region for employees frequent travels. The idea is to encourage employees to join him in Vijayawada leaving their families in Hyderabad for sometime.
In the meeting the Chief Minister was informed about the high rental values being quoted by builders in the capital region. He said that builders should not exploit the situation and cooperate in developing the region. Naidu asked the officials to design an historic pylon to commemorate the foundation stone laying function of Amaravati on October 22, 2015. “Explore it we can develop the location of the pylon as a beautiful public park or like a central public centre,” Naidu suggested.
Chief minister Chadrababu Naidu is for replicating the Kuppam drinking water model across the State and involve corporate and industrialists under the CSR initiatives in the projects meant for drinking water. He prescribes Kuppam model as the real solution to the chronic drinking water problem the districts of Chittoor and Anantapur are facing. But, under Kuppam model the water doesn’t flow free of cost. Chief minister asked the officials to supply water but fix the meters and collect the charges in the name of maintenance.
Expressing concern over the water scarcity compounded by the fluoride problem, he asked officials to work on an action plan to provide mineral water to isolated pockets in these two districts, immediately. “Work out a plan to meet drinking water needs of fluorosis-hit villages. This should include immediate plan, intermediate plan and a long-term plan,” he instructed officials.
He asked the officials not to compromise on the making potable water to the households in rural areas especially, Chittoor and Anantapuram districts.Kuppam, his home constituency, has overcome the acute drinking water problem by adopting rainwater harvesting and setting up recharging structures. The CM said Panchayat Raj officials that the department should be in a position to supply at leader 30 TMC of water for drinking purpose. Chief Minister asked officials to make all the services online for 12, 918 through Panchayat Raj Institution & Management System (PRIM).
The demand of restoring the YS Rajasekhar Reddy’s portrait rocked the Andhra Pradesh Assembly on Tuesday, the third day of five day monsoon session during question hour. As speaker Kodela Sivaprasada Rao disallowed YSRCP’s adjournment motion on drought and drinking water problem, the opposition member trouped into the well chanting slogans YSR Zindabad, and displaying the portraits of YSR and demanded the restoration of the portrait in the members launge. The raucous led to the adjournment of the motion for 10 minutes.
The portrait, along with portraits of Tanguturi Prakasham and Sanjeevaiah have been removed last month at the instructions from the speaker. This decision was later ratified by the special purposes committee of the Assembly. The committee’s argument was that it was not convention to hang the pictures of formers chief ministers in the Assembly. Only pictures of former speakers are kept. But, the YSRC objected to it stating that it was the decision of the previous assembly and it should be honored. Today, YSRC members did not allow the house run staging dharna in the well. Speaker took strong objection to it and asked them to give a notice on the subject before raising in house.
“If you have real respect for YSRajasekhar Reddy and you think he was your leader, why didn’t you give the adjournment motion on the subject. You gave the notice on drought. The subjects should be raised in Assembly only on prior notice,” he said. Speaker also warned them against the taking house for raise.”You cannot dictate the house to take any subject you wish just like that. Don’t cross the limits,” speaker warned. But, opposition continued their protest, slogans and display of YSR portrait. Speaker asked them why were they stalling the business of the House. He specially asked the members, to remove the picture. He assured them he would permit them to speak only if them removed the picture. As the opposition members un-relented, speaker adjourned the house for ten minutes.
Chief minister Naidu disappointed party MLCs, who also want to ‘dedicate’ themselves to the development of their area. They urged chief minister to start constituency development fund for them also on the lines of Rajya Sabha member, who are also beneficiaries of MPLADs. Rajya Sabha members do not represent any constituency. But, they can adopt a constituency and utilize these funds. Each MP is given Rs 4 crore each year. Telugu Desam MLCs wanted such an opportunity to them also.
In Andhra Pradesh, MLAs are given Rs one crore constituency development fund to take up works which need immediate attention. But, Naidu said to have politely turned down MLCs request for area development fund in the TDLP meeting on Monday evening. But, the CM is learnt to have promised to allocate Rs 2 crore fund to each legislator in the State in addition to the funds, what they are getting for the development of their respective constituencies.
The second day of the monsoon session of Andhra Pradesh witnessed same hostile stance from the opposition YSRCP. The party today demanded the suspension of question hour to take up the special status debate forthwith. YSRCP members rushed into the well started raising slogans and displayed placards of their demand. Speaker Kodela Sivaprasada Rao tried to persuade the opposition members of the importance of question hour. ” Question hour is important for many other members. Yesterday some members expressed their displeasure as they could not get their questions answered. Let us take up the issues after the question hour,” speaker said.
The opposition insisted on the suspension of question hour. “Yesterday, chief minister started making his statement at 1.30 PM and closed at 2pm. It was incomplete. So, today the statement should be taken up suspending question hour.” Jagan said.
Assembly affairs minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu also requested Opposition leader not to insist on the suspension of question hour. He rebuked YSRCP for demanding the suspension of question hour without even giving a notice. “You get only 2 questions as per hour the strength. If you don’t want the question hour you can go out and come back at the time of CM’s statement. You cannot dictate the house to take up the matter you like,” he said.
Jagan said what CM talked in the house and what furnished in the statement were not same. “Government did not mention the proposal to adopt a resolution. Speaker, however, defended the government stating that government was in no obligatin to reveal its program of action. In the morning, Immediately after the house assembled for the day, YSRCP MLA G Srikanth Reddy said the statement made by the chief minister on the floor of the house referred fight for special status. The statement was confusing as to the type of fight, he said. “How could the TDP fight by being part of NDA and allowing TDP ministers in the Modi cabinet?” he asked.
As the house was out of order with slogans being raised by opposition members in the well of the House speaker adjourned the house for 10 minutes.
YSRC president and Opposition leader YS Jaganmohan Reddy deplored that today’s Assembly looked worse than the Kaurava Sabha. ” I have not seen the Kaurava Sabha. But, today’s Assembly appears worse that the Kaurava Sabha,” he said.
Referring to the special status statement the chief minister Chandrababu Naidu made onthe floor of the House, Jagan said he was ready to resign from the House if anybody tells what Naidu talked looked like a statement.
He said today he exposed a political conspiracy in the Assembly.
” There was an attempt to ensure that only one version that is the version of chief minister alone goes out. My microphone connection had been cut several times. And chair allows only the CM to speak on the condolence motion. The chief minister speaks for 20 minutes and chair doesn’t give chance to opposition leader to speak,” Jagan said.
He dared the chief minister to reveal his stand on special status.” People want to know if the Chandrababu Naidu is for special status or not,” Jagan asked.
Appealing to the people of the state not to resorting the self-sacrifice, chief minister Chandrababu Naidu accused opposition parties of instigating the people emotionally to commit suicides in the name of special status.
He cautioned the people not to fall prey to the opposition parties’ games with sentiments.
“Don’t get disheartened. We have to be patient . We don’t get anything from being in hurry. Don’t take extreme steps like suicides. We will fight to get what is our due,” he cautioned and appealed to the parties to be patient and make the people also to be patient.”We need speicial status. What there should be wider debate on what we would get by getting tag of special category status” he added.
Addressing media in Vijaywada this afternoon, Naidu rubbished the accusation of the opposition party that he was revolving the New Delhi to get himself bailed out from the cash-for-vote scam. Reassuring the people that the state would not relax its efforts in getting the assistance, he said the Prime Minister had instructed the NITI Ayog to prepare the road map. and asked people to give it sometime.
“The Prime Minister said Bihar case was different from AP. AP’s assistance has constitutionally backed. The assistance assured for AP is incorporated in the Act. Andhra Pradesh must be given assistance. What is there in the special status? You will get more than the entitlements of special category status,” is what Prime Minister assured him according to the chief minister.
YSR Congress has taken strong objection to TRS government’s attempt to modify the design of Pranahita-Chevella Project in Telangana.
Dismissing Telangana Chief Minister KCR’s remarks against feasibility of Pranahitha-Chevella project as conceived by YSR, Telangana party president Ponguleti Srinivasa Reddy said finding fault with the design and limiting its utility to four districts instead of six was unfortunate.
Drawing a parallel between two Telugu states, the Reddy said while Andhra Pradesh government is delaying the Polavaram project, T-government is planning to redesign it only to disconnect them from YS Rajasekhar Reddy’s name.
Reddy recalled the how YRS strove to get national project status to these projects.
He said Chief Ministers of both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states were ignoring the Jalayagnam projects just because they were initiated by YS Rajasekhar Reddy when he was chief minister.
“The two chief ministers are putting their personal agenda ahead of public interest and are trying to scrap the various welfare schemes launched by YSR which were benefiting poorer sections of the society,” he added.
YSR had strived to bring national project status to both the projects which were now being given short shrift by the two chief ministers, he added.
With Telangana police chief complaining to the union secretary and governor on the presence of Andhra Pradesh police at its chief minister Chandrababu Naidu’s residence in Hyderabad, AP DGP has recalled over 400 cops.
The governor reportedly intervened over beefing up of Andhra Pradesh police-without seeking permission of Telangana police-at their VIP residences and party offices.
The AP police chief informed the governor that they recalled 400 AP police personnel from Hyderabad. Also, the union home secretary along with a team is going to arrive in Hyderabad today for brokering peace between AP and TS chief ministers.
Cash-for-vote scam seems to be taking new turn everyday as the credible sources said that the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) sleuths are gearing up for attaching an additional FIR in the case after interrogating the main accused in the case, Revanth Reddy.
If the sources have to be believed, the name of Chandrababu Naidu’s son is now surfacing as Lokesh Naidu (Babu’s son) has reportedly spoken to the nominated MLA Stephenson from the mobile of the fourth accused in the case Muthaiah, who has been absconding.
Further, the sources said that ACB is investigating in all possible angles as to how the arrested MLA got Rs. 50,000—that was seized in the sting operation earlier this month. Apparently, ACB is presumably believing that there could be hands of hawala in this entire episode with Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao alleging that TDP fielded at least five teams to overthrow their governance, out of which one team was caught red-handedly by the ACB. In connection to the same, ACB is likely to question two kingpins of hawala—one in Basheerbagh and the other in Abids.
Reports further indicated that the bureau is likely to file the additional chargesheet in next two days. Whether Chandrababu Naidu’s name will be included in the FIR or not has now become a topic of the town. We have to wait for two more days to know the developments of this case. Until then keep checking this space for minute to minute updates on cash-for-vote scam.
HYDERABAD: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, his Cabinet colleagues, leaders of TDP, Congress and others today attended the engagement of daughter of Telangana TDP MLA A Revanth Reddy, who was arrested in connection with the cash-for-vote controversy.
A local court had yesterday granted interim bail for a day to Revanth Reddy to attend his daughter’s engagement ceremony.
The attendance of Naidu and several TDP leaders is seen as an expression of solidarity with the MLA.
TDP has alleged that the ‘cash-for-vote’ row and the video and audio tapes surfacing allegedly in connection with the issue is a conspiracy against the party by the ruling TRS in Telangana.
Beleaguered Naidu will knock on the doors of centre on Wedenesday for a bail-out from the cash-for-vote tangle he is caught in.
He will lodge a complaint with union government that how Telangana government is resorting to phone tapping in Hyderabad, the joint capital of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and making the city insecure for Andhra Pradesh chief minister and other political leaders of the ruling party.
He is scheduled to meet home minister Raj Nath Sigh first and later, Prime Minister Nardenra Modi tommorrow.
He left for New Delhi immediately after the marathon cabinet meeting which revolved around the issue of telephone tapping by the T-government.
As he is fearing the prospect of being questioned by the Telangana ACB, Naidu rushed to Delhi to seek centre’s intervention in the matter, so that the T-ACB drops his name from the FIR.
Sources said Naidu, will also have consultations with legal experts in Delhi to explore the possibility of taking legal action against the T-government.
Similarly, he will exert pressure on the centre to implement the provisions of AP Reogranization Act-2014 that give special powers to the Governor over the joint capital area.
As of now, the provisions are not recognized by the Telangana government and are in cold-storage.
In the six-hour long meeting, in which AP intelligence chief Anuradha was also present, the cabinet thoroughly discussed telephone-tapping issue.
According to sources, some ministers even expressed displeasure over the reported cluelessness of AP intelligence department on the Reventh issue or on the tapping of telephone of chief minister.
Naidu briefed the cabinet on the exercise he had done in the past two days to counter the T-government campaign against Andhra Pradesh government.
Naidu said he had held a meeting with all the service providers like Airtel, Vodafone etc to know more about the phone tapping.
“I gathered from them that on average daily about 5000 phones are being tapped by operators at the request of various investigating agencies in Telugu states,” he told the cabinet.
Finally, the cabinet decided on a three-pronged strategy to nail Telangana government.
One, a team of ministers will call on government ESL Narasimhan to lodge a complaint and seek action against T-government.
Two, the state government will set up a committee that would go into the matter of telephone tapping by T-government or the recording of CM’s reported conversation with T-MLA Elvis Stephenson.
And the three, the government will explore the possibility of approaching the court to rein in Telangana government in intercepting the telephone conversations.