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Congress in Telangana demands waiver of electricity bills

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The main opposition Congress party in Telangana on Monday staged protests across the state, demanding the state government waive electricity bills for the entire lockdown period for Below Poverty Line (BPL) families and small businesses.

Leaders led the black flag protests in Hyderabad and 32 other districts against inflated electricity bills for the last three months. They submitted memorandums to the electricity authorities not to impose burden on common man.

State Congress chief N. Uttam Kumar Reddy led a rally in Hyderabad from party headquarters Gandhi Bhavan to Vidyut Soudha, the head office of electricity generation and distribution companies.

Wearing black badges and holding black flags and lanterns in their hands, the protesters raised slogans against the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao.

A party delegation submitted memorandum to the officials of Telangana State Transmission Corporation, demanding that the bills of BPL families and micro, small and medium enterprises be waived.

Talking to reporters, Reddy said instead of coming to the rescue of people during the pandemic time, the government added burden on them by high electricity bills.

He demanded that the government immediately rectify the error in the bills and lessen the burden on all categories of consumers.

Senior leader Mohammed Ali Shabbir said since the lockdown impacted the income of all categories of consumers, the government should take sympathetic views of their problems and reduce burden on them.

“The electricity bills of June were highly unjustified. They were not only inflated and exorbitant, but also prepared in an erroneous manner. Of the 95 lakh power consumers in Telangana, nearly 75 lakh are in the domestic category and almost 80 per cent of them use less than 200 units a month,” Uttam Kumar Reddy wrote in a letter to the chief minister on Sunday.

He said distribution companies generated bills based on the overall consumption of 90 days, in violation of the Telangana State Electricity Regulatory Commission (TSERC) guidelines.

The Nalgonda MP stated that consumers have been asked to pay Rs 9 per unit instead of usual Rs 4.3 due to the change in slab based on the total number of units consumed in the 90-day period.

He demanded that the government shift to the telescopic method of billing instead of continuing with the current non-telescopic method. He alleged that despite lakhs of consumers raising complaints about the errors in their electricity bills, no corrective measure was taken.

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Cong sees ‘foul play’ in KCR’s resolution in Assembly against CAA, NPR, NRC!

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The Congress suspects ‘foul play’ in the resolution introduced by Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and passed by Legislative Assembly on Monday against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens.

Congress senior leader and former Leader of Opposition in Telangana Legislative Council Mohammed Ali Shabbir said that Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao has failed to make his stand clear on the issue.

In the six page resolution introduced by KCR, the operational part is of only three sentences which lack clarity on whether or not the CAA would be implemented in Telangana. Further, there is no mention or direct request for stalling the NPR & NRC related activities in the State.

“Telangana Government has only urged the Centre to amend the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 in order to remove all references to any religion or any foreign country. But it did not register its objection in open words. As openly stated by other Chief Ministers, CM KCR did not make a clear announcement that he would not implement CAA, NRC and NPR in Telangana,” he said.

Shabbir Ali said that the State Legislative Assembly could not confine itself to ‘expressing concern’ over the proposed implementation of NPR & NRC. As per the resolution, the House, urged the Government of Telangana to take all necessary steps to safeguard the people from exercises such as NPR & NRC. He pointed out that the Kerala Government has issued a GO MS No. 247 Dated 20-12-2019 stalling all NPR activities in the State. “Instead of delivering an hour long speech, KCR should have made one specific announcement that CAA, NPR & NRC would not be implemented in Telangana. However, KCR once again used his oratory skills to cheat the people,” he said.

The Congress leader alleged that KCR was trying to sail in two boats at the same time. At one side, he is trying to highlight himself as a secular leader who is against BJP’s communal policies. On the other, he is covertly implementing the BJP and RSS agenda by not doing anything officially to stop the implementation of CAA, NPR and NRC in Telangana. Instead, he said Telangana Government has already initiated the NPR process which would begin from 1st April.

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KCR is real Coronavirus, Congress is nation builder

Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) President N. Uttam Kumar Reddy has strongly condemned Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao for referring the Congress party as the Coronavirus for the country. He said KCR was a real Coronavirus while Congress party is nation builder.

Uttam Kumar Reddy, in a statement on Sunday, said that KCR, during a debate in the Assembly on Coronavirus, has made highly objectionable remarks against the Congress party. He said KCR would not have made that speech as the Chief Minister, if Congress party would not have granted statehood for Telangana. He said that KCR must realise that the Congress has given Telangana to fulfill the aspirations of people and subsequently, he became the Chief Minister. Therefore, he advised KCR to restrain from indulging in cheap talk against the Congress party.

The TPCC chief demanded that KCR withdraw his remarks and tender an unconditional apology for making inappropriate words against the Congress party. He also demanded that the remarks be expunged from the Assembly records.

Uttam Kumar Reddy ridiculed KCR’s understanding of Coronavirus. While the entire world is taking precautions to prevent the spread of deadly Coronavirus, KCR has ridiculously commented that it won’t come to Telangana as it has high temperature and it can be cured by taking a paracetamol. After making such a statement in the House, KCR suddenly realised the threat Coronavirus poses to the State and announced lockdown.

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Hope Trump visit outcome in national interest: Congress

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The opposition Congress on Friday welcomed US President Donald Trump’s coming visit to India but cautioned the government to take the utmost care to ensure that it did not turn into a Trump re-election campaign in the Indian diaspora.

“We feel this visit should not become a link to the re-election campaign of the US President. The outcome of this visit should be in national interest,” said senior Congress leader Anand Sharma.

The Congress said the three things that needed to be kept in mind are the sovereignty, self-respect and national interest of India. “Such tours should be serious and not limited to photo-ops, the Congress leader remarked.

Trump is visiting India on February 24 and 25.

The former Union Minister said: “The Congress understands Indo-US relations and supports it… the Congress wants the GSP (Generalised System of Preferences) regime to be brought back as Indian manufacturers are suffering and it has impacted small workers in the country.”

“As Trump has said, he has good relations with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he has been assured that he (US President) will be welcomed by 50-70 lakh people during his visit. In such a situation, we hope that the pending issues of the country like H1B1 visa, GSP etc will be resolved,” the Congress leader added.

However, the Congress questioned who all were managing the proposed Ahmedabad visit of Trump, as the government said it was the “Trump Nagrik Abhinandan Samiti”.

“We have come to know that a quota has been fixed for schools, colleges and universities (to send students for Trump’s welcome). School children will also be lined up. As many as 100 teachers have been summoned from each block. All the hoardings put up there are not by any committee. The Gujarat government has given all approvals; Motera Stadium has been hired, artistes from all over India are coming. It’s not under the control of a committee. A special grant for the visit has been given to the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. We don’t mind, but the government should not lie (about the arrangements),” a Congress leader said.

The party asked if the government was paying for the event, why was it hiding the fact.

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Jagan, Naidu and Pawan can’t save AP: Congress

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The AP voters have eliminated Congress in 2014 and 2019 polls. Because, Sonia Gandhi unjustly divided United AP, giving Hyderabad Capital City to Telangana state. The Andhras are still unable to recover as their state is now caught in the worst ever Capital shifting crisis. CM Jagan Reddy is least bothered about agitations of farmers and Chandrababu. Pawan Kalyan has fallen silent after his alliance with the BJP. The people are blaming Modi-Shah for not trying to resolve AP Capital crisis. Now, the Congress is volunteering to shoulder the responsibility to bring back stability to Andhra.

Congress AP new President Sailajanath says that only their party can save AP from the iron grip of BJP. He says that Jagan Reddy, Chandrababu Naidu and Pawan Kalyan can’t save the state from Modi-Shah. They can’t even stand up and fight with PM Modi unjust strategies. Sailajanath says that it is only Congress which can fight with Modi. Only Congress can restore the past glory of AP by solving all its problems including Capital.

Interestingly, the new slogan of Congress is its promise to save AP from the all-round destruction being caused by Jagan Circar. Congress says that because of his anti-people policies, Jagan has lost his moral right to use his father YSR’s name.

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Lack of Candidates for Congress and BJP in TS Municipal elections

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The National Political Parties including Congress and BJP, which are dreaming to come into power in Telangana State, are facing lack of candidates at hundreds of divisions and wards in Urban Local Body (ULB) Polls.

While 25,763 nominations were filed by all the candidates in all 3,052 wards and divisions, 432 were disqualified during scrutiny by the State Election Commission (SEC). Following the sorting out of nominations, it was found that Congress has no candidates in 200 wards/divisions and BJP is facing the similar situation at 400 places which indicates that the main opposition party Congress and ruling party in central the BJP are facing tough time in Telangana State.

Sources from the BJP are saying that the party did not get much time in selecting suitable and powerful candidates as the ruling party declared elections after it had got well prepared. “It is not meant that there are no candidates for BJP.

Due to the delay in announcement of candidates, few have already submitted their nominations as independents,” the sources added. BJP leaders are saying that the party would hold campaigns on behalf of these independent candidates. Congress party leaders are also thinking on supporting independent candidates where it has no candidate. “These candidates can utilise our party flag during election campaign but, they have no party symbol in elections,” sources from Congress told.

As per the data released by the SEC, Congress has no candidates in 14 wards in Mancherial district followed by 12 in Yadadri-Bhuvanagiri district, 11 in Kothagudem, 8 in Armur, 7 in Bhainsa, 6 in Mahbubnagar, 4 in Adilabad etc. In Ramagundam Municipal Corporation, the party has no candidates in 13 divisions.

Similarly, the BJP has no candidates in Medak, Siddipet and Sangareddy districts in 50 wards. Out of 28 wards in Huzurnagar, the BJP candidates filed nominations in only 8 wards and in Ibrahimpatnam, out of 24 wards, the SEC received nominations from the BJP candidates for only 6 wards.

The ruling party TRS is facing excess nominations at all the wards/divisions as at least four candidates submitted nominations from the TRS but, the candidate who gets B-Form from the party will contest officially on the party’s symbol.

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Attempt to shield Hyderabad flyover accident accused: Cong

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Telangana’s opposition Congress on Tuesday accused state Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister Kalvakuntla Tarakarama Rao for trying to shield the accused in Biodiversity Flyover accident as he happened to be his distant relative.

Kalvakuntla Krishna Milan Rao, the CEO of a start-up, was allegedly driving the car at a very high speed and in rash manner which resulted in the vehicle falling off the flyover in the busy Information Technology corridor of Gachibowli on November 23, killing a woman and injuring three others.

Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) Minorities Department Chairman Shaik Abdullah Sohail said by constituting a committee to study the safety aspects of the flyover, the minister was trying to shield his relative.

The Congress leader alleged that efforts are being made to create a report that the accident occurred due to safety issues and not due to Milan Rao’s negligent and rash driving.

He claimed that the accused is a close relative of ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) MLA Kalvakuntla Vidyasagar Rao and distant relative of Kalvakuntla Tarakarama Rao, son of Chief Minister Kalvakuntla Chandrashekhar Rao.

The Congress leader asked why safety measures were not taken before opening the flyover early this month.

Milan Rao is the CEO and co-founder of Empower Labs, which claimed to be India’s first augmented reality gaming company.

Cyberabad Police said they booked Milan Rao under section 304 (A) of the Indian Penal Code for causing death by negligence. He faces a possible two years imprisonment.

According to Deputy Commissioner of Police A. Venkateshwar Rao, the investigations found him driving the car at a very high spend and losing control over it while negotiating a curve.

The police officer said they would arrest Milan Rao and produce him in court after he was discharged from the hospital. Police have collected footage from CCTV cameras and issued a challan of Rs 1,000 for overspeeding. This is likely to serve as crucial evidence in the court.

Milan Rao was allegedly driving Volkswagen Polo car at a speed of 104 kmph. The rash and negligent driving led to the car colliding and dragging along the flyover’s railings before toppling over and falling on the road below.

A 55-year-old woman, who was waiting at bus stop, was killed while her daughter and two others were injured.

Milan Rao, who was saved by the car’s airbags and suffered a fracture to his clavicle. He is undergoing treatment at a private hospital.

The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has shut down the flyover and formed a committee to inspect it and suggest safety measures. Police said the flyover would remain closed till the new safety measures are put in place.

This was the second disaster on the flyover, which was inaugurated earlier this month, connecting the busy IT corridors of Gachibowli and Hitec City.

Two youths were killed when a car hit them on the same flyover on November 9. The youths, who had stopped to take selfies, fell of the bridge after the car being driven by a man in an inebriated condition hit them.

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Congress asks TRS government to prove conspiracy charges

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An affidavit filed by a senior Telangana official in High Court in the case relating to ongoing strike by TSRTC employees has kicked up a row with the Congress party on Sunday demanding evidence to prove the allegation of conspiracy to destablise the government or dismiss the official.

Taking serious note of the affidavit filed by Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) in-charge Managing Director Sunil Sharma, state Congress chief Uttam Kumar Reddy appealed to Chief Justice to take cognizance of the affidavit, saying it is baseless and full of lies.

Sunil Sharma, who is Principal Secretary (transport), claimed that RTC union leaders appear to have acted with the connivance of opposition parties with oblique motive to destabilize the government. The official made the allegation while urging the court to declare the strike illegal.

Reddy said the officials should reveal at whose instance the affidavit was filed. “This is an extraordinary situation. It is a serious matter. The chief justice should take cognizance of this and order an inquiry by an independent agency,” he said.

The opposition leader said if the government had any evidence of a conspiracy to destablise the government, it should take action. “Arrest us if you have any evidence or dismiss the official from service,” he told Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government.

The state Congress chief said he will lodge a complaint with the Department of Personnel and Training of the Government of India against Sunil Sharma.

Reddy, who is also a Member of Parliament, said the party would also raise the issue in the Parliament during winter session beginning Monday.

He said despite the death of 24 striking employees, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao has not given up his egoistic attitude.

The indefinite strike by over 48,000 employees of RTC entered 44th day on Sunday.

Though the employee’ Joint Action Committee (JAC) has temporarily dropped the main demand of TSRTC’s merger with the government, the latter has given no indication of any imminent talks to break the impasse. Sunil Sharma said in his affidavit that the employees may again raise the merger demand in future.

High Court will resume hearing on the petitions relating to the case on Monday. At the previous hearing, the division bench headed by Chief Justice R. S. Chauhan refused to declare the strike illegal and at the same time also declined to issue orders to the government to hold talks with the employees.

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As Rahul Gandhi sulks, Sonia’s coterie is back in Congress

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With an angry Rahul Gandhi sulking and his mother Sonia Gandhi returning to take charge of the Congress, the syndicate of her coterie is back in the party and asserting its clout.

This is clear from a slew of decisions taken during the last over one month after Sonia Gandhi took charge, most of which have been undoing of the decisions taken during the presidentship of her son Rahul Gandhi.

To name a few, Rahul Gandhi’s appointee Ashok Tanwar was removed as Ghulam Nabi Azad, the party General Secretary In-Charge of Haryana, sided with Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

The seniors in the party are not willing to hand over the baton to young leadership, said a youth leader considered close to Rahul’s team. The return of Sonia Gandhi is also marked by return of her powerful political Secretary Ahmed Patel, who is now Treasurer of the party.

The buzz in the Congress is that there is a power tussle between the respective teams of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. ‘Team Sonia’ is calling the shots in AICC, a party leader said.

This was clear during the episode involving the dramatic appearance and press conference at the AICC headquarters on August 21 by P. Chidambaram, who was wanted by CBI in INX deal case.

His appearance at 24, Akbar Road, accompanied by a host of Congress workers and leaders like Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Vivek Tankha, was organized and choreographed by Patel.

The press meet was organized to enable Chidambaram to tell the media that he was not on the run and that he had done no wrong.

Even on Monday last, before Sonia Gandhi along with Manmohan Singh went to meet Chidambaram in Tihar jail, she sent Patel and Ghulam Nabi Azad to meet him.

However, in these series of events, Janardan Dwivedi has been missed out. He was removed by Rahul Gandhi. But Motilal Vora enjoys the same clout, being In-charge of the party Headquarter.

At the same time, Rahul Gandhi has managed retention of some of his close confidantes in key positions, like K C Venugopal, who continues as General Secretary (Oganisation).

The appointments of election screening committees in Maharashtra and Haryana also had the stamp of Rahul Gandhi. Jyotiraditya Scindia was made the head of Maharashtra screening committee while Madhusudan Mistry was made the head of Haryana screening committee.

Mistry, like Patel, hails from Gujarat and two are considered rivals in the state politics.

The recent appointment of Supriya Shrinate, Ragini Nayak and Sharmishta Mukherjee in the AICC media department also tells the story of Rahul intervening in party affairs.

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Can Sonia revive Congress?

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It has been over a month since Sonia Gandhi took charge of the Congress once again but the party is still to recover from the severe setback it suffered in the Lok Sabha elections and there seems to be no clear plan in sight about its revival.

The grand old party, which could manage to win only 52 out of 542 seats in the Lok Sabha polls, is ridden with infighting and desertions, besides seemingly the lack of direction. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, it had got 44 seats.

Amid despair and son Rahul Gandhi’s decision to step down from the post of party president, Sonia Gandhi was appointed as the party’s interim chief on August 10 at a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), its highest decision-making body.

Rahul relinquished the post, to which he had been appointed in 2017, taking moral responsibility for the electoral debacle.

The immediate task at Sonia Gandhi’s hands is to ensure cohesion in the party, stop desertions and prepare for the Assembly elections due in Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Haryana in the next few months.

On September 12, she held a meeting with all the party general secretaries, states’ in-charge and state unit chiefs and emphasized on the need for coordination, while invoking the ideology of the party as well as that of Mahatma Gandhi.

She advised party leaders to not only agitate on social media, but also to go to the people and highlight the misdeeds of the government over economic slowdown and retrenchment in several sectors.

Some sections in the party say Sonia Gandhi has taken some “corrective steps” over the last one month, but some others feel she has failed to take any measures to revive the party after the Lok Sabha poll drubbing.

“We cannot see a revival plan till date. No major decision has yet been taken,” a party leader told IANS.

The party leader pointed out that a decision on ‘one-man, one-post’ is yet to be implemented in the central leadership.

Giving examples of party leaders holding multiple posts, he said Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad also holds the post of General Secretary and Haryana in-charge. Similarly, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath is also the state unit chief and Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot is also the state unit chief.

He further said there is no indication yet from the central leadership to boost the morale of the party workers which has been completely shattered. “And to boost the morale of the party workers and supporters, a major reform in the party is required.”

Besides, the poll-bound states, the party needs leadership change in many other states like Karnataka, Telangana, Goa, where the party has witnessed desertions after the Lok Sabha polls.

In these states, the Congress has seen mass desertions by its MLAs over the last few months. In Karnataka, the party lost its 14-month coalition government to the BJP in July after several MLAs switched sides.

In Uttar Pradesh, the Congress leader pointed out, all the district committees of the party were dissolved in July this year but no decision has been taken since to reconstitute those.

“And now there are by-polls in 13 Assembly constituencies (of UP),” he said, adding, “So, who is going to lead the party there?”

On the other hand, a Congress general secretary, wishing not to be named, told IANS, “Sonia Gandhi has done a lot of work in the last one month. She has saved the party from splitting in Haryana and Maharashtra, by taking corrective decisions at right time before it was too late.”

As an example of Sonia Gandhi’s “achievements”, the party leader referred to the appointment of former union minister Kumari Selja, considered close to her, as the Haryana Congress chief by replacing Ashok Tanwar, a close confidante of Rahul Gandhi.

“While doing so, she also appointed former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda as the chairman of the Election Committee and the CLP as well as the leader of the party in the state, thus ending his threat to the party, which he gave during his mega rally in Rohtak on August 18,” he said.

He noted that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson has also taken organisational decisions in Maharashtra, where the Assembly polls will be held shortly.

“By appointing Balasaheb Tharot as the party state unit chief, she has given an indication that the party is not taking the Assembly elections lightly in the state,” he said.

He said with revocation of the expulsion of former state minister and Vidarbha leader Satish Chaturvedi, Sonia Gandhi has given a clear message that the party wants to make a comeback in this election.

She has also appointed Jyotiraditya Scindia as chairman of screening committee for Maharashtra polls. Scindia is engaged in a bitter fight with Kamal Nath, Chief Minister of his home state Madhya Pradesh.

She also appointed Rameshwar Oraon as the Jharkhand Congress chief, following the resignation of Ajoy Kumar, who accused several senior party leaders of not working for the party.

During her meeting with the party Chief Ministers, states’ in-charge and state unit chiefs, Sonia Gandhi had batted for preference in party posts to the workers responsible for the party’s victory in the Congress-ruled states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Punjab and Union Territory of Puducherry.

A party general secretary said after making appointments in the poll-bound states, Sonia Gandhi is now focusing on Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, where infighting among the top leaders is clearly visible.

“In a bid to end infighting in the Madhya Pradesh, where the party has a thin majority with the support of the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and independent MLAs, she has held meeting with Chief Minister Kamal Nath thrice in last three weeks, the latest being on September 13 during the meeting of all party Chief Ministers, states’ in-charge and state unit chiefs.

“Before the Chief Ministers’ meeting, Sonia Gandhi conveyed to Kamal Nath her unhappiness over the infighting and asked state in-charge Deepak Babaria to submit report on the same,” he said.

The Congress leader said Scindia, whose faction has openly demanded his appointment as the state unit chief, is also likely to meet Sonia Gandhi to discuss the leadership issue in the state.

The verbal war between the Scindia faction and the rest had snowballed into a major crisis in the state.

Meanwhile in Rajasthan, fissures in the state unit have came out openly with Pilot openly criticising Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot over the issue of delay in forming a SIT over the death of Pehlu Khan after it came to power in the state and even poor law and order situation.

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Telangana TDP, Congress leaders join BJP

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Senior TDP leader R. Prakash Reddy and Congress party’s former MP Ravindra Naik on Wednesday joined the BJP.

The two leaders formally joined tje Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the presence of party’s Working President J.P. Nadda in New Delhi.

BJP General Secretary Muralidhar Rao, Union Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy, party’s Telangana unit President K. Laxman and other leaders were present on the occasion.

With Prakash Reddy joining the BJP, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Telangana lost yet another senior leader.

Muralidhar Rao said since BJP was the only alternative to the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), leaders from all parties were joining it. He said BJP would continue to fight against the “anti-people” policies of the TRS government.

Laxman alleged that unable to digest the BJP’s growing strength in Telangana, the TRS was using police to book false cases against the party leaders.

He also claimed that the government deliberately created shortage of urea in districts where the BJP grew strong to malign the BJP-led government at the Centre.

Ever since the BJP won four Lok Sabha seats in Telangana, several leaders from Congress, TDP and other parties have defected to it.

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ED arrests DK Shiva Kumar, Congress strategist of Karnataka

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D.K. Shiva Kumar or shortly DKS as he is known in Karnataka, is the man behind handling all the crises of Karnataka Congress in last few years. In fact he became last ‘resort’ of Karnataka Congress in any crisis. Today Enforcement directorate arrested him and the news created tremors in Karnataka politics.

Click here: DK SHiv Kumar the leader who became congress’s last “Resort”

ED arrested DK Shivakumar in connection with the Rs 8 crore money laundering case. ED officials have been questioning him in New Delhi for last four days. There are rumors about DK having financial transactions and connections with Coffee Day as well. ED arrested DK alleging that he was not co-operating with the investigation.

DK Shiva Kumar responded on his arrest through twitter and tweeted, “I congratulate my BJP friends for finally being successful in their mission of arresting me. The IT and ED cases against me are politically motivated and I am a victim of BJP’s politics of vengeance and vendetta. I appeal to my party cadre, supporters and well-wishers to not be disheartened as I have done nothing illegal. I have full faith in God & in our country’s Judiciary and am very confident that I will emerge victorious both legally and politically against this vendetta politics. ”

We will have to wait and see for further updates on this case.

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Warrant issued against Renuka Chowdhury in cheating case

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A court in Telangana on Friday issued a non-bailable warrant against senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Renuka Chowdhury.

The Second Additional First Class Judicial Magistrate’s court in Khammam district issued the warrant as she had not been attending the court proceedings in connection with a four-year-old cheating case against her.

According to the case, the Congress leader allegedly took money from an aspirant for Telangana Assembly elections ticket in 2014 but did not return the money after failing to get him the ticket.

A case of was registered against her in 2015 on a complaint by a woman named B. Kalavathi, who alleged Chowdhury took Rs 1.10 crore from her husband Bhukya Rana Chandra Naik with a promise to get him party ticket to contest from Wyra Assembly seat in Khammam district in the 2014 elections.

The minister failed to arrange the ticket for Naik, who died subsequently. Kalavathi said the former Minister did not return the money.

As the Congress leader was not attending the court proceedings and had even allegedly refused to receive the summons, the court issued a non-bailable warrant against her.

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‘BJP, RSS want to end reservations in garb of discussion’

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The Congress on Monday hit out at the ruling BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), accusing them of being anti-Dalit and anti-backward and said they want to end reservations in the backdrop of discussions.

Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters, senior Congress leader P.L. Punia said, “Baba Saheb B.R. Ambedkar believed that socio-economic inequality would be a challenge. Thus reservation was brought in place for the same reason.”

“But the BJP has always been trying to change the Constitution. They always advocate abolishing the Constitution. Now they want to debate reservation,” he said.

Punia said that the BJP tried to end reservations in educational institutions and that it also played an important role in weakening the SC/ST Act.

“During the debate they said that there are some shortcomings in it and it can be misused,” he said referring to the debate on SC/ST Act. “Based on this, the Supreme Court gave its decision,” he said.

Slamming the government, Punia said, “Ending reservation is a well-planned strategy of the BJP and the RSS. They want to end reservations in the backdrop of discussions, which is condemnable and shows their ill thoughts.”

The Congress leader’s remarks came a day after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat stirred a row after he said that there should be a conversation in a harmonious atmosphere between those in favour of reservations and those against it.

Criticising the BJP for diverting the real issues, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said, “It has become the habit of the BJP and RSS to keep raking up issues and creating conflict in the society, issues on which opinions are sharply divided that can divert voters’ attention from day to day problems of the government.”

He said the only motive behind BJP’s decisions is to distract people. Citing examples, he said, “Be it demonetisation or Article 370. People have to understand this trap of BJP, that they try to divert attention from the main issues. The atrocities on tribals and Dalits are not hidden.”

Congress’ Dalit face Udit Raj said that the BJP does not accept the Indian flag and the Constitution. “On December 11, 1948, the RSS had organised a big rally at Ramleela Maidan in Delhi and they also burnt the effigy of Ambedkar.”

Udit Raj alleged that by ending reservations the BJP’s motive is to make people of different communities fight among themselves.

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.

Congress leadership conundrum

The opposition’s role in democracy is always very important. Ruling party and opposition dialectics is the core strength of democracy. It keeps the balance of power in the system. The ruler becomes a dictator if the opposition is weak. From President Donald Trump to Russia’s Vladimir Putin, a new right-wing populism has emerged. It has also emerged in London. Many people think it is a phenomenon that has emerged out of weak opposition space.

After the massive victory of Narendra Modi in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, what is the news of Rahul Gandhi? What is happening in the opposition Congress? What is the status of the Congress? What is happening in the Gandhi family? I rang up at Tughlak Lane and heard that he was abroad; will be back soon. Many of the leaders go abroad for some days in this horrible summer of Delhi – not a new thing here. But since the budget session is on till July 24, political leaders have to stay in Delhi. Rahul Gandhi is also staying here most of the time. He is visible in Parliament.

Rahul Gandhi has resigned. He has left the post taking responsibility for the party’s defeat. It is not just drama. He is firm in his decision. If you look at the Congress benches from the Lok Sabha’s press gallery today, you will feel the sadness of the fact about this hundred-and-a-half year old political party. From Allan Octavian Hume to Surendranath Banerjee – what a history it has been of the Congress!! Where has it come today?

I think Rahul Gandhi is a good soul. It is true that he is very interesting in a private chat but the task of becoming a leader of such a complex country’s political party is probably not suitable for him. I also saw how he was nominated as Vice President at the Congress session in Jaipur. I was in Jaipur that day. During the announcement that day, it seemed that Rahul himself was not very excited about this responsibility. He has always been a ‘reluctant’ politician.

After Rahul Gandhi’s resignation, the Congress’s situation has become worse. Actually, the Congress is now without a guardian. State leaders and other organizational leaders have resigned but senior leaders are not able to accept their resignation letters. The all-India President of the party himself has resigned. The Congress Working Committee will have to accept the resignation, but Rahul tweeted that he is no longer the president.

Modi and the BJP’s top leadership said during the elections and even now that the Congress is run by a family. Modi repeatedly attacked the Congress. So from Jawaharlal Nehru to Rahul Gandhi, the Congress has been running this country, but the people of India are against this dynastic rule.

Now, look at the organization’s situation. I do not know whether the Congress party can survive without this family. There is infighting in the Congress in all states. There is friction between Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot in Rajasthan, between Chief Minister Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia in Madhya Pradesh. It is the old versus the new controversy. How many conflicts are there? But Rahul Gandhi or the members of the family can have the last word which all leaders will accept. Therefore, the Gandhi family is a wonderful cementing factor in congress united force.

I saw how many leaders were fired by the dream of leadership when Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated. Arjun Singh, Sharad Power, Karunakaran, Narasimha Rao, and many others. But, what was the first resolution of the Congress Working Committee after this? The Congress Working Committee unanimously requested Sonia Gandhi to be the next leader. But Sonia politely refused the offer – it can be called a positive ‘No’. The next question was, who would be leader. Narasimha Rao became the leader but Sonia Gandhi endorsed this.

When Narasimha Rao was accused of trying to lead the ‘Bofors’ investigation against Sonia, even after allegations of laxity in investigating the murder case of Rajiv Gandhi, she went to Amethi and started her political journey. I was in Amethi that day. It was raining that afternoon. She started her political life. Priyanka was also there that day. In Congress history Sitaram Kesri became the president of the party, but we have also seen how Sonia Gandhi became party president by removing Keshri. It was a smooth operation. It was possible only for someone with the brand name Gandhi.

Pramod Mahajan, the late BJP leader, once told me that the Congress party had a great advantage, where a leader and a family took all decisions. Taking decisions was easy for them. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was Prime Minister in the party but the decisions were usually taken by four or five people. L.K. Advani, Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha, Murli Manohar Joshi, and others. I have left out the RSS and Brajesh Mishra. In Congress, this can be called dictatorship, but for the sake of decision making process it works.

Today, after seeing the Congress party in this situation, I am reminded again of Pramod Mahajan. What is this party? Assembly elections in Jharkhand, Haryana, Delhi and Maharashtra are close at hand. For the Congress party, victory in these states is difficult. By contrast, if Rahul Gandhi becomes Congress president, then he will have to take responsibility for the next defeat as well.

So in today’s acute crisis in Congress, will Priyanka Gandhi come to the rescue of the party? Or can a senior leader be the working president as of now? Or will a young leader be made the full-time president? Or, will Rahul Gandhi eventually return under party pressure? At present, whether Akbar Road or in the Central Hall of Parliament everyone is busy speculating on who will be the Congress President. I think the Congress party should decide quickly for the sake of democracy of our country.

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.

Goa Congress splits, 10 MLAs join BJP

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In a major coup, the BJP in Goa late on Wednesday engineered a split in the 15-member Congress legislature party and inducted the 10-member splinter group headed by the leader of opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar into the BJP.

Kavlekar has blamed disunity among senior Congress leaders in Goa and lack of development in the Opposition MLAs’ constituencies as some of the reasons for splitting from the main opposition party. The Aam Aadmi Party in Goa has called the merger a betrayal of Goan voters.

The stunning development takes the tally of BJP MLAs from 17 to 27 in the state legislative assembly.

The 10 Congress MLAs who are part of the rebel group are Chandrakant Kavlekar, Isidore Fernandes, Francis Silveira, Filipe Neri Rodrigues, Jennifer and Atanasio Monserrate, Antonio Fernandes, Nilakanth Halarnkar, Clafacio Dias and Wilfred D’Sa.

The development brings down the legislative strength of the Congress party to a paltry five MLAs. It includes Digambar Kamat, Luzinho Faleiro, Ravi Naik, Pratapsingh Rane a” all of whom have served as Chief Ministers a” and MLA Aliexo Reginaldo.

Speaker Rajesh Patnekar formally confirmed the development late on Wednesday.

“My office received two requests today. A breakaway Congress group of 10 MLAs wrote to me informing of their split from the party. The CM has also informed me that the group had merged with the BJP and the strength of his party has increased to 27 MLAs. I have accepted both the requests,” Patnekar said.

When asked if the merger was legal, Patnekar said: “I am not a legal expert. Whether it is legal or not, somebody has to see”.

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said that the merger of the breakaway group would help strengthen his government and help it to perform better.

“A group of 10 Congress MLAs, which forms two-thirds of the Congress legislature party, under the leadership of leader of opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar split from their party and merged their group into the BJP today. The BJP’s legislative strength which was 17 earlier now rises to 27”, Sawant said.

Sawant also said that the merger had been okayed by the party leadership. All newly inducted MLAs are expected to leave for Delhi to meet BJP President Amit Shah.

Kavlekar, who also spoke to reporters at the state legislative assembly complex, also said that one of the reasons for joining the BJP was lack of unity among senior Congress MLAs, because of whom the party could not stake its claim to form a government in Goa.

“We have joined with a positive thought. We had the opportunity in the past to form a government, but because of lack of unity among our senior MLAs, we were not in a position stake our claim,” Kavlekar said.

When asked if he felt it odd that a leader of Opposition should join a ruling party, Kavlekar said: “Apart from leader of opposition, I am also an MLA of a constituency and it is my duty to ensure that my constituency is looked after”.

For now, the BJP-led coalition government has a majority of 33 MLAs, including three MLAs from the Goa Forward party and three independent legislators.

Amid off-the-record claims by BJP’s state leadership that some of the coalition ministers in Sawant’s ministry may be dropped in view of Wednesday’s merger.

Deputy Chief Minister and Goa Forward party president Vijai Sardesai has said that the BJP leadership should ensure that the spirit of the coalition government which was created in 2017 under the leadership of late Manohar Parrikar, with the help of his party, should not be killed.

He also said the only thing which had changed since the formation of the coalition government in 2017 was that former Chief Minister Parrikar was no longer alive.

“Nothing has changed. Only thing that has changed is that Manohar Parrikar is not there. Those (Central) BJP leaders who had talked to us during government formation are still in power and have become more powerful. It is their obligation to see that what is created in 2017 is not killed for any reason,” Sardesai said.

Commenting on Wednesday’s swift political developments, Aam Aadmi Party convenor in Goa Elvis Gome said that the merger was shameful. “There is no opposition or ruling party in Goa. They are all one. Both Congress and BJP have betrayed their voters,” Gomes said.

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.

KCR shut 4,000 government schools: Congress

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The Congress on Monday said the K. Chandrashekar Rao government in Telangana has shut down 4,000 state-run schools while 2,000 schools were to face closure.

Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted: “The KCR government shut down 4,000 schools in the last tenure and another 2,000 schools face closure. Dismantling is the word for KCR – from Secretariat buildings to Public Education!,”

Sharing a media report claiming that around 2,000 schools in the state were at closure due to low enrollment, Surjewala termed it as “KCR’s latest body blow to Telengana’s public education”.

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.

Karnataka coalition in new crisis as 11 MLAs resign

In a severe jolt to the 13-month-old coalition government in Karnataka, eight Congress and three Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) legislators on Saturday submitted their resignations in the Assembly Speaker’s office.

“I came to know from my personal secretary that 11 legislators gave resignation letters in my office. They were acknowledged with receipts. I will go through them on Tuesday (July 9) as I am on leave on Monday,” Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar told reporters at his residence here.

Congress sources in New Delhi said state in-charge K.C. Venugopal, who is in Kerala presently, was rushing to Bengaluru and would meet the Congress MLAs in the evening.

The eight Congress MLAs who resigned are Pratapgauda Patil (Maski), B.C. Patil (Hirekerur), Ramesh Jarkiholi (Gokak), Shivram Hebbar (Yellapur) and Mahesh Kumatahalli (Athani), Ramalinga Reddy (BTM Layout), S.T Somashekar (Yeshvantpur) and S.N. Subba Reddy (KGF in Kolar).

The three JD-S MLAs are A.H. Vishwanath (Hunsur), N. Narayana Gowda (K.R. Pete) and Gopalaiah (Mahalakshmim).

“As the Speaker was not in the office, the legislators submitted their resignation letters to his personal assistant,” a party official told IANS here.

Though Jarkiholi had sent his resignation on July 1, it was not accepted by the Speaker, as it was faxed to his office, which is against the procedure.

Congress legislator Anand Singh from Vijayanagara segment had also resigned on July 1. As he personally handed over his resignation letter to the Speaker, his office acknowledged receiving it.

As the legislators could not meet the Speaker, they went to the Raj Bhavan to apprise Governor Vajubhai Vala of their decision to resign.

Of the Congress legislators, Reddy, a seven-time lawmaker, was a Cabinet minister in the previous Siddaramaiah-led government.

Three more Congress legislators, including Reddy’s daughter Soumya (Jayanagar), Byarti Basavaraj (K.R. Puram) and Munirathna (R.R. Nagar) are also reportedly mulling to resign.

In the 225-member Assembly, the coalition government had 118 members, five over than the halfway mark of 113. These include Congress’s 79 (excluding the Speaker), the JD-S’s 37 and three more – one each from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and regional outfit Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party (KPJP) and an Independent.

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has 105.

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.

I am to blame for Congress rout, no more President: Rahul

Rahul Gandhi announced on Wednesday that he has resigned as the Congress President and that he was to blame for the party’s rout in the Lok Sabha elections where it could win only 52 of the 542 seats.

In an open letter made public on his Twitter account, Gandhi, son of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, also said that the BJP’s sweeping election win proved that the RSS’ aim of capturing the country’s institutional structure was now complete.

“As President of the Congress party, I am responsible for the loss of the 2019 election. Accountability is critical for the future growth of our party,” he said in a letter that was put on his Twitter account which no longer described him as the Congress President.

“It is for this reason that I have resigned as Congress President.”

The letter said: “Rebuilding the party requires hard decisions and numerous people will have to be made accountable for the failure of 2019.

“It would be unjust to hold others accountable but ignore my own responsibility as President of the party.”

Gandhi said that while it was important for someone new to lead the Congress, “it would not be correct for me to select that person”.

Earlier in the day, Gandhi told reporters: “I have already submitted my resignation and I am no longer the party chief.

“The Congress Working Committee should convene a meeting at the earliest and decide on a new party chief.”

Gandhi announced on May 25, two days after the Lok Sabha election results became known, that he would resign as the Congress chief after the party was drubbed. Gandhi was himself defeated in Amethi in Uttar Pradesh but won from Wayanad in Kerala.

In his four-page letter, Gandhi said the RSS, the BJP’s ideological parent, had succeeded in capturing the country’s institutional structure.

He sought to question the role of the Election Commission in the 2019 Lok Sabha battle.

“A free and fair election requires the neutrality of a country’s institutions — an election cannot be fair without arbiters, a free press, an independent judiciary and a transparent Election Commission that is objective and neutral.

“Nor can an election be free if only one party has a complete monopoly on financial resources.”

Gandhi said: “We didn’t fight a political party in the election. Rather, we fought the entire machinery of the Indian state, every institution of which was marshalled against the opposition.

“It is now crystal clear that our once cherished institutional neutrality no longer exists in India..”

“There is a real danger that from now on, elections will go from being a determinant of India’s future to a mere ritual.”

Gandhi alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s victory “does not negate the breath of corruption allegations against him, no amount of money and propaganda can ever hide the light of the truth”.

He said he would remain “a loyal soldier of the Congress” and “a devoted son of India”.

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.

Video: Telangana Congress Leaders visit Secretariat and Assembly

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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