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Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra enters Hyderabad

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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra entered Hyderabad on Tuesday to a huge response by the party cadres and supporters.

After covering Narayanpet, Mahabubnagar and Rangareddy districts, the yatra entered Hyderabad on the seventh day of its journey in Telangana.

Rahul Gandhi along with other party leaders and workers resumed the walkathon from Matha temple at Shamshabad on the city outskirts and entered the city through Bangalore-Hyderabad highway.

Congress MP and yatra coordinator for Telugu states Uttam Kumar Reddy, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, former MP Madhu Yaskhi Goud and other leaders along with hundreds of party workers were participating in the yatra.

The yatra will halt at Bahadurpura, where Rahul Gandhi will meet various groups and will have lunch and take rest.

The foot march will resume in the evening and reach the historic Charminar after passing through Puranapul, Hussaini Alam and Khilwat. At the historic monument, Rahul Gandhi will hoist the national flag.

It was at the Charminar that Rahul Gandhi’s late father and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had launched Sadbhavana Yatra on October 19, 1990 for communal harmony in twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.

Every year, the Congress party organises Sadbhavana Yatra commemoration day at Charminar and presents awards to personalities working for peace and communal harmony.

From Charminar, Rahul Gandhi will lead the Bharat Jodo Yatra to Necklace Road on the banks of Hussain Sagar lake, which divides the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.

The yatra will pass through busy areas like Patthergatti, Madina Circle, Afzal Gunj, MJ Market, Nampally, Saifabad and Secretariat to reach Necklace Road.

The Congress MP will then garland the statue of his late grandmother and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at Necklace Road and address a corner meeting. Congress leader and incharge for Telangana Manickam Tagore said Rahul Gandhi will also pay tributes to late Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, whose Samadhi is located at Necklace Road.

Newly-elected Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge will also be joining Bharat Jodo Yatra in Hyderabad later in the day.

He will walk for some distance with Rahul Gandhi and is likely to address the corner meeting at Necklace Road.

Hyderabad police have made elaborate security arrangements for the yatra. They have imposed restrictions on movement of traffic on the yatra route.

Rahul Gandhi will have a night halt at the Gandhi Ideology Centre at Bowenpally in Secunderabad.

The yatra will continue in Telangana till November 7 with a one-day break on Friday.

It will cover a total distance of 375 km in 19 Assembly and seven Parliamentary constituencies in the state.

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BJP, TRS using corruption money for horse trading, says Rahul Gandhi

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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday alleged that both the BJP and the TRS are using corruption money to buy MLAs and influence elections.

He said both the parties were spending hundreds of crores. “Where is this money coming from. It’s obviously coming from corruption and being distributed blatantly with no regard for any rule,” he said, addressing a news conference during Bharat Jodo Yatra in Rangareddy district.

Rahul Gandhi said that the BJP and the TRS have similarities. “Both steal public money and use to influence elections,” he said when asked to comment on the recent incident in which three alleged agents of BJP were arrested while trying to buy four MLAs of TRS.

He ruled out any truck with the TRS. “There is absolutely no question of Congress having any relationship with the TRS. We have made it clear. The confusion is created by TRS themselves,” he said.

Replying to another query, he said the decision not to have any relationship with the TRS was the decision of the combined leadership of Telangana.

“We can’t stand with the corruption and the approach and attitude of TRS which is looting people of Telangana, snatching lands of Dalits and tribals, privatising education. We are diametrically opposite to what they are doing,” he said.

“If Nitish Ji wants to talk TRS that is his concern, his desire. He is welcome to do it,” he remarked when asked about Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s talks with the TRS.

On the TRS deciding to go national by changing its name to BRS, the Congress leader remarked that any leader has the right to imagine his party in whatever way he wants. “If the Chief Minister of Telangana believes he is running a national party, it is perfectly okay. There is no problem. If he believes he is running a global party, that is also acceptable. He can imagine fighting elections in the United States and China. We are perfectly happy to accept it,” he said.

The Congress MP exuded confidence that Congress will win the next elections in Telangana.

He brushed aside questions about infighting in the party.

“Our party is democratic. It is not run on dictatorship. Our is the only party which conducts internal election. This is our DNA and the discussion is in our nature. We will fight the elections together and win. There is no doubt about it.”

He claimed that Congress demonstrated it is a democratic party by holding election across for the post of party President.

“I am wondering when other parties will have election. When will the RSS, the BJP, and he TRS have elections. Interestingly, press always asks Congress. It never ever dares to ask about democracy in TRS, RSS and BJP,” he said.

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Cong pins its revival hopes in Telugu states on Bharat Jodo Yatra

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Desperate to regain lost ground in the Telugu states, the Congress has huge expectations from Rahul Gandhi’s ongoing ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’.

Conscious of the huge odds in Andhra Pradesh where it does not have a single MP or MLA, the party has planned the Yatra in such a manner that it will cover less than 100 km.

However, the coverage will be extensive in Telangana, where the party sees a real chance for itself in the Assembly elections scheduled next year.

The Congress leaders in Telangana are eagerly waiting for the Yatra to enter the state as they believe that it will infuse new enthusiasm among the party cadre and help gear up the organisation for the poll battle ahead.

The Yatra, which has received good response in Kerala and Karnataka, briefly touched Andhra Pradesh on the evening of October 14 before re-entering Karnataka. Rahul Gandhi along with hundreds of supporters walking with him reached Obulapuram in Andhra Pradesh’s Anantapur district to a warm welcome by state Congress chief Sailajanath, working president N. Tulasi Reddy, senior leader Raghuveera Reddy and others.

Large number of party workers from Anantapur, Kurnool and Kadapa districts joined the Yatra. After covering 5.4 km in Andhra Pradesh, the Yatra re-entered Karnataka’s Ballari district.

Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to reach Aluru in Kurnool district on the night of October 16. There will be a break on October 17 for the AICC presidential elections. The next day the Yatra will cover the Aluru constituency. According to Tulasi Reddy, the Yatra will pass through the Adoni constituency on October 19, Yemmiganur on October 20 and Mantralayam on October 21. The long march will then re-enter Karnataka.

Andhra Pradesh Congress leaders believe that Rahul Gandhi’s Yatra will help lift the morale of the party cadres.

“The Yatra will definitely draw huge public support in the state. The party leaders and workers are all waiting eagerly for it,” said Tualsi Reddy.

During the Yatra in Andhra Pradesh, Rahul Gandhi is likely to reiterate the promise that if Congress is voted to power at the Centre in 2024, it will accord Special Category Status (SCS) to Andhra Pradesh.

SCS to the residuary state was promised by the Congress-led UPA government at the time of bifurcation of united Andhra Pradesh in 2014 and this commitment was part of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2014. However, the BJP-led NDA, which came to power at the Centre in 2014, declined to grant SCS to Andhra Pradesh on the ground that this would lead to similar demands from other states.

The Congress leaders say both the previous Telugu Desam Party (TDP) government and the present YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) regime failed to mount pressure on the Centre to get the SCS to the state.

Political analysts say the Congress still faces a huge challenge to make a comeback in Andhra Pradesh. In the 2014 elections, it was virtually wiped out due to public anger over bifurcation of the state. It drew a blank in both Assembly and Lok Sabha and there was no improvement in 2019.

“People of Andhra Pradesh are still reeling under the after-effects of bifurcation, and it is evident the people there blame the Congress for this situation. The party has lost its leadership and cadres to other political outfits and does not have enough base to put up a decent show if the Bharat Jodo Yatra enters the state,” said political analyst Palvai Raghavendra Reddy.

Compared to other states, the Yatra will cover a small part of Andhra Pradesh and the route map has been deliberately planned in this manner.

“While Congress wants to showcase an upwards trend with the Yatra, entering Andhra Pradesh might prove counter-productive for the party. It also suggests that Congress is in no hurry to revive itself immediately in Andhra Pradesh,” he said.

Telangana is the state where the Congress wants to focus. Though the party had hoped to politically benefit by carving out the Telangana state, it landed in a situation of neither here nor there. All its hopes were dashed when people voted Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) to power in 2014 and since then the Congress’ graph has been on the decline with exodus of its leaders and cadres.

Despite joining hands with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in 2018, the Congress suffered another defeat at the hands of TRS, which retained power with a huge majority. The Congress finished a poor second in the 119-member Assembly with just 18 seats and within a few months at least a dozen of its MLAs defected to TRS and the party lost even the status of main opposition in the Assembly.

The performance of the Congress in Assembly by-elections has also been disastrous. It failed to retain Huzurnagar which was vacated by Uttam Kumar Reddy after he was elected to the Lok Sabha in 2019.

With the BJP emerging stronger by winning two Assembly by-elections, the Congress is further demoralised. Infighting in the party following change of state leadership last year left the organisation in disarray.

The Bharat Jodo Yatra is entering Telangana at a time when Congress is facing an acid test in the Munugode Assembly by-election, caused by the resignation of its legislator Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy who switched loyalties to BJP. The November 3 by-election is the last chance for Congress to regain some lost ground before the next year’s Assembly polls.

It is in this context that Rahul Gandhi’s Yatra has assumed significance for the grand old party in its former stronghold. The party’s state unit is looking to draw maximum mileage from the Yatra to shape up well to take on both TRS and BJP.

“While the response in Kerala and Karnataka has been overwhelming, the Telangana state unit has to work hard to ensure people connect with the Yatra, and the message of Rahul Gandhi reaches every village across the state. In a state where regional sentiments are a big factor, it would be interesting to see how crowds respond to the Congress scion’s Yatra and meetings. Will the people of Telangana respond sympathetically towards the party which played a big role in the formation of the state is something which only time will tell,” said Raghavendra Reddy.

He also pointed out that the Bharat Jodo Yatra will touch only a few locations in Telangana, while completely ignoring Andhra Pradesh.

The route map of Bharat Jodo Yatra in Telangana is yet to be finalised. It is still not clear if the Yatra will cover the state for 15 days as originally planned.

The state leadership impressed on the high command to include Hyderabad in the Yatra. As per the revised schedule, Rahul Gandhi will visit the historic Charminar and the Necklace Road where he will address a meeting after garlanding his grandmother Indira Gandhi’s statue on October 31 on the occasion of her death anniversary.

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Cong office set afire in T’gana’s Munugode

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Unidentified persons set afire Congress party’s office in Telangana’s Munugode Assembly constituency where by-election is scheduled on November 3.

The Congress party office at Chandur in the constituency in Nalgonda district was set ablaze by some unidentified persons early Tuesday. Party’s campaign material was gutted in the incident.

Party flags, posters and scarves stored for Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president A. Revanth Reddy’s road show were gutted. The Congress leaders blamed the rival parties for the incident.

They said they were present in the party office till 11 in the night but when they came to office in the morning, they noticed smoke and damaged material. They alerted the police.

The Congress leaders demanded an impartial probe into the incident. They said fascist BJP and its friendly party TRS were scared of the Congress. Terming it as an act of cowardice, they said it reflects the fear of defeat by BJP and TRS.

Last night, some unidentified persons pasted wall posters against BJP candidate Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy, alleging that he received Rs 18,000 crore contract to join the BJP.

The Congress leaders suspect that their office was set afire in a revenge action.

Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president A. Revanth Reddy condemned the Chandur incident. He expressed his anguish over the Congress office being set ablaze.

Revanth alleged that the Congress party’s rivals in Munugode were resorting to criminal acts as they were unable to digest the public support Congress was receiving in the constituency.

Revanth Reddy said such actions cannot stop the Congress party from winning the by-election.

The by-election is scheduled to be held on November 3. The vacancy arose after sitting MLA Rajagopal Reddy resigned from the Assembly and also Congress party to join the BJP.

The constituency is set to see a three-cornered contest among the ruling TRS and opposition BJP and Congress.

The TRS has named Kusukuntla Prabhakar Reddy as its candidate while the Congress has fielded Palvai Sravanti.

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Congress to implement Special Statues for AP

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Ahead of Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo yatra entering Andhra Pradesh the Congress leaders once again promised special category status for the state. The Congress leaders said that Rahul Gandhi would give his first signature granting special category status, if the Congress formed the government at the Centre after the 2024 general elections.

A galaxy of the leaders met in Kurnool on Tuesday to make arrangements for Rahul Gandhi’s yatra in the state. The yatra would enter from Karnataka and pass through some pockets in the Rayalaseema region of the state. Rahul Gandhi’s yatra would be held for just four days in Andhra Pradesh covering 95 kilometers.

The yatra would then enter into the neighbouring Telangana state and continue for 13 days.

The Congress leaders said that the UPA government had promised special category status for Andhra Pradesh at the time of bifurcation. However, the successive governments had completely ignored it, they said.

Then BJP MP, M Venkaiah Naidu asked for the special category status for ten years, while the UPA promised it for five years. But, after becoming the vice-president, Venkaiah Naidu too ignored it as did the BJP leadership.

The Congress leaders emphasised the need to give special assistance to Andhra Pradesh, which lost the revenue sources to Telangana due to bifurcation. Andhra Pradesh required a helping hand which the successive BJP-led NDA government had not given, the Congress leaders asserted.

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Telangana Congress rebel MLA asked to stay or quit

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The Congress leadership has made it clear that Telangana MLA Komatireddy Rajgopal Reddy should decide whether to stay in the party or quit.

Taking strong view of the remarks made by the rebel MLA against the party and its leadership, top leaders decided that if he stays in the party he will get due respect but if he quits, the organisation will defeat him (in by-election).

Ever since his meeting with union Home minister Amit Shah a few days ago, Rajagopal Reddy stepped up attack on the Congress.

He stated that only BJP is capable of defeating Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS). He also remarked that if summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), party leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi should appear before it.

Amid growing demands from several Congress leaders to act against the rebel MLA, party’s national general secretary K.C. Venugopal on Wednesday night held a meeting with the party’s state leaders in New Delhi.

According to Congress sources, party in charge for Telangana Manickam Tagore, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president A. Revanth Reddy, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka and MP Uttam Kumar Reddy attended the meeting.

It was decided that if Rajgopal Reddy decides to stay back in Congress, he would get due respect but if he wants to leave the party would take all steps to defeat him.

Though the MLA had been making bitter attack on the party, the leadership was handling the issue carefully in view of the fact that his brother Komatireddy Venkat Reddy is a MP in the party.

The party had also sent CLP chief to meet the rebel MLA and pacify him.

The meeting lasted for more than three hours on Monday but there was no change in Rajgopal Reddy. Talking to reporters after the meeting, the rebel MLA alleged that the Congress has no leaders who fought for statehood to Telangana.

He said those facing criminal cases were given key posts in the party. The MLA said it was a fact that the BJP is becoming stronger in the state.

Rajgopal had earlier dropped hints that he will soon switch loyalties to the BJP.

The member of Telangana Assembly from Munugode constituency, said that only BJP can defeat the ruling TRS.

The Congress leader also remarked that switching loyalties is a historic necessity. He told media persons that he feels that the time has come to move to another party.

The Congress MLA said if people of Munugode want, there will be a by-election in the constituency.

The MLA said the Congress leadership took some wrong decisions which weakened the party. He said that the Congress party is not in a position to take on TRS.

Without naming Telangana Congress chief A. Revanth Reddy, he said that he can’t work under those who had gone to jail.

Rajgopal Reddy and his brother Komatireddy Venkat Reddy had openly criticised the appointment of Revanth Reddy as the party chief last year.

While Venkat Reddy recently mend fences with Revanth Reddy, his brother remained a bitter critic of TPCC president.

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Cong takes out huge rally in Hyderabad in support of Sonia

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The Congress on Thursday took out a huge rally in Hyderabad against the questioning of their leader Sonia Gandhi by the Enforcement Directorate in the National Herald case.

Telangana Congress president A. Revanth Reddy led the rally from Indira Gandhi statue on Necklace Road to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) regional office in Basheerbagh.

The Congress leaders and workers later sat on a dharna at the ED office to condemn what they call attempts by the Narendra Modi government to implicate Sonia Gandhi in a false case. They announced that the protest will continue till Sonia Gandhi comes out of the ED office in New Delhi.

The rally and dharna disrupted traffic on major roads around Hussain Sagar and Basheerbagh in the heart of the city.

Large number of party workers participated in the rally. Holding party flags and placards, they raised slogans against the Modi government. Some of them were carrying black flags and black balloons.

Former MP Anjan Kumar Yadav led a protest rally from Adarsh Nagar to the ED office. “ED for Modi, BJP Hatao Desh Bachao”, reads a huge banner carried by the protestors amid the beating of drums.

The Congress leaders condemned the political vendetta unleashed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah against their top leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

Telangana Congress organised similar protest last month when the ED had summoned and questioned Rahul Gandhi for five days.

Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee organized the rally in response to the call given by the party’s central leadership to organise the protest.

Revanth Reddy stated that vendetta politics by the BJP will not stand on Sonia Gandhi. “We will not tolerate the blatant misuse of power by ED and will fight back until justice prevails,” he said.

Former MP Madhu Goud Yaskhi, M. Shashidhar Reddy, Ponnala Lakshmaiah, Jeevan Reddy, Mallu Ravi and other leaders participated in the rally.

Former state Congress chief Ponnala Lakshmaiah said a family who sacrificed lives, property and posts for the country was being targeted by the Modi government.

Jeevan Reddy said there was no money transaction and hence there was no question of money laundering but the Central government was misusing the Central agency to target Gandhi family.

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Jolt to TRS as a Mayor joins Congress

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Telangana’s ruling TRS received a jolt on Monday when the Mayor of Badangpet Municipal Corporation and two corporators joined the opposition Congress.

Mayor Parijatha Narsimha Reddy, along with corporators Santosha Srinivas and Peddabavi Sudershan Reddy joined the Congress, in the presence of party leader Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi.

State Congress President A. Revanth Reddy and other party leaders were present.

Parijatha was elected Mayor of the newly-created urban body on the outskirts of Hyderabad after defecting to the TRS from the Congress along with few other corporators.

Alleging that she was being sidelined in the TRS, she sent her resignation to party’s Ranga Reddy district chief and MLA Manchireddy Kishan Reddy.

She stated that depsite her sincere efforts to work for the TRS, the party leaders in Maheshwaram Assembly constituency and Badangpet Corporation were sidelining her.

After meeting Rahul Gandhi along with the Mayor, two corporators and other leaders, Revanth Reddy said the Congress would continue its fight against wrong policies of both the BJP government at the Centre and the TRS government in the state.

He said Gandhi suggested them to stand by the people in the fight against both the Central and Telangana governments.

Revanth Reddy said that as a party which carved out Telangana state, the Congress also has the responsibility to save the state.

He said while Narendra Modi government has burdened the common man with steep and indiscriminate hike in prices of petroleum products, the TRS government headed by KCR has pushed Telangana into a debt trap, alleging that not only has the development of Telangana come to a standstill but the state is on the verge of going bankrupt.

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NSUI members try to lay siege to Raj Bhavan in Hyderabad

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Congress party’s student body, the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) tried to lay a siege to the Raj Bhavan here early Thursday to protest against the action of the Enforcement Directorate against party leader Rahul Gandhi.

Taking the police by surprise, NSUI leaders and workers reached Raj Bhavan, the official residence of the Governor around 5.30 a.m.

Raising slogans against the Narendra Modi government, NSUI Telangana unit leaders and workers sat in front of the Raj Bhavan.

Police swung into action to arrest the protesters and shifted them to a police station.

Police have tightened security around the Raj Bhavan in view of the call given by Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) to stage a protest against what it calls harassment of Rahul Gandhi by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Large number of police personnel were deployed to prevent protesters from gathering around the Raj Bhavan.

TPCC president A. Revanth Reddy has announced that a rally would be taken out from Rajiv Gandhi statue at Punjagutta to Raj Bhavan. He urged the party cadres to participate in the rally and the protest at the Raj Bhavan in large numbers.

Police have made it clear that there is no permission for a rally or protest at Raj Bhavan. Police have erected barricades on roads leading towards Raj Bhavan to prevent protesters from gathering there.

TPCC had taken out a massive rally on Monday and staged a sit-in at the regional office of the ED. The protest led by Revanth Reddy continued the next day. As the EC continued questioning Rahul Gandhi for a third straight day on Wednesday, the Congress leaders staged a protest at Gandhi Bhavan, the party headquarters.

TPCC has called for protests in front of the central government offices on Friday. The protests will be organised in front of railways stations, post offices and other offices of the Central government.

Revanth Reddy alleged that the BJP government at the Centre was misusing ED to target Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. He called continued questioning of Rahul Gandhi by the ED vindictive politics.

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Singer Moosewala killing seems inter-gang rivalry: Punjab DGP

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The killing of singer-turned-actor-politician Sidhu Moosewala, with a huge fan base running into millions, in Punjab seems to be an inter-gang rivalry, Director General of Police (DGP) V.K. Bhawra said.

“Prima facie, it seems to be an inter-gang rivalry between the Lawrence Bishnoi group and the Lucky Patial group,” he said.

“The Lawrence Bishnoi group has taken the responsibility of Sidhu Moosewala’s murder citing it be the retaliation to the killing of Vicky Midhukhera,” he said.

In less than 24 hours after his security was curtailed by the government, Moosewala, 29, was shot dead by gangsters close to his ancestral village in Mansa in broad daylight on Sunday, police said.

He was on the wheel in a Mahindra Thar SUV when the assailants, believed to be 10-12, fired more than 20 rounds at point-blank range at the singer and his two friends, who got grievous injuries. Moosewala got seven-eight bullets.

It is learnt that the AK-47 assault rifle was used in the crime as its shells were recovered from the crime scene.

The DGP said three shooters — Sunny, Anil Lath and Bholu, all residents of Haryana — have already been arrested by Delhi Police Special Cell in connection with the murder of Midhukhera, while, another accused identified as Shaganpreet, who was manager of Moosewala, was also nominated as accused in the FIR registered regarding the murder of Midhukhera.

Shaganpreet has escaped to Australia and is wanted by the police.

Regarding the killing of Moosewala, the DGP said preliminary investigations revealed three weapons, including 7.62 mm, 9 mm and 0.30 bore weapons, were used in the crime. It is still under investigation, he added.

On the directions of Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, a three-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) was constituted to ensure effective and speedy investigation of the murder of Shubhdeep Singh alias Sidhu Moosewala.

The SIT members include SP Investigation (Mansa) Dharamveer Singh, DSP Investigation (Bathinda) Vishawajeet Singh and CIA in-charge (Mansa) Prithipal Singh.

Moosewala, who left his house around 4.30 pm along with two persons — Gurwinder Singh and Gurpreet Singh (cousin) — was shot dead by some unidentified persons. Moosewala was driving his Mahindra Thar vehicle.

DGP Bhawra said when Moosewala reached Jawahar Ke village they were followed by a white Corolla and they were intercepted from the front by two cars, including a white Bolero and a dark grey Scorpio.

“There was heavy firing from the front on Sidhu Moosewala and his friends, where all sustained bullet injuries,” he said, adding the police team reached the spot immediately and the trio were taken to the Civil Hospital in Mansa where Moosewala was declared brought dead, while his cousin and his friend are in stable condition and they have been referred to Patiala for further treatment.

On withdrawal of Moosewala’s security, the DGP said in view of Ghallughara week the police had temporarily withdrawn only two security personnel of Moosewala for law and order duty, while he had two police personnel from Commando Battalion deployed with him.

“While leaving home, Sidhu didn’t take along his two police personnel and also left his private bullet-proof car at home,” he said.

The DGP directed the IG (Bathinda range) Pradeep Yadav, the SSP (Mansa) Gaurav Toora and the SSP (Bathinda) J. Elanchezian to camp in Mansa, while the ADGP Law and Order has mobilised the required force to nab the murderers of Moosewala.

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Can Kiran Kumar Reddy breathe life to Congress in AP?

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The Congress leadership has summoned former chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy to the national capital. He is likely to meet party top leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in Delhi. The rumours say that he is likely to be made the APCC president to revive the party.

The Congress is struggling for survival in Andhra Pradesh with Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy launching his own outfit. The party suffered heavily after the bifurcation. While Jagan Mohan Reddy stabbed the party to bleeding, Kiran Kumar Reddy buried the party at the time of bifurcation.

The Congress in Andhra Pradesh is now weaker than the two Communist parties. Even Jana Sena is placed in a better position than the Congress. The Communists and the Jana Sena have won some ward members in the local body elections, while the Congress is seen nowhere.

The party further suffered after the exit of N Raghuveera Reddy leaving no hope of revival. While it took two decades for the party to slip to the lowest position in Tamil Nadu, it had gone missing in Andhra Pradesh in less than one decade.

The beleaguered Congress now is desperately looking for existence in Andhra Pradesh. The party is now looking towards Kiran Kumar Reddy for the revival. The man who buried the party is now being persuaded to breathe new life.

The party leadership believes that incumbent PCC chief Sake Sailajanath is not able to deliver. In fact, he is yet to start the districts’ tour to rejuvenate the party. Having lost hopes on his leadership, the party high command is looking towards Kiran Kumar Reddy.

It is to be seen if Kiran Kumar Reddy would help the leadership revive the party in Andhra Pradesh or the leadership would have to lose its hopes!

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Who wants to have alliance with Congress, asks KTR

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Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) working president K. T. Rama Rao on Saturday ridiculed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s comment that Congress will have no alliance with TRS in the next year’s Assembly elections.

“Is there any political party in India which wants to have an alliance with the Congress,” asked the TRS leader.

He was talking to reporters in Warangal, where Rahul Gandhi addressed a public meeting on Friday.

Dubbing Congress a tried, tested and dusted party, the TRS leader wondered who would want to have an alliance with it.

“Will Rahul, who could not win his own constituency, make his party win elections in Telangana,” asked KTR, who is son of Telangana Chief Minister and TRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao.

The TRS leader also remarked that Rahul Gandhi has handed over Gandhi Bhavan (state headquarters of Congress party) to Godse. Taking another dig at the Congress MP, the TRS leader said he read the script given by somebody.

KTR also ridiculed the Congress leader over the latter’s claim about farmers’ suicides in Telangana. He pointed out that the central government itself has declared that Telangana has the least number of farmer suicides. “If Congress is such a great party with concern for farmers, why did it lose the elections in Punjab,” he asked.

On the Warangal declaration announced by the Congress party, KTR said Congress has just repeated what it had said in the 2018 elections. aceHas Rahul Gandhi spoken in Parliament about paddy,” he asked.

“When Congress was in power, it had no rythu bandhu and rythu bheema schemes. It did not supply uninterrupted power to farmers. None of the welfare schemes being implemented by the Telangana government today was there during Congress rule.”

KTR alleged that Congress turned agriculture into a crisis while Chief Minister KCR transformed agriculture into a great power. He recalled that when Congress was in power there was not a single village without people migrating from there to cities and other states.

He dismissed the allegation by Congress party that TRS government did not waive off crop loans. He said that farmers know the truth. He urged farmers not to believe what Congress promised in the Warangal declaration.

Describing AlCC as the All India Crisis Committee, KTR said the time has come for the people to dump Congress party once for all.

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Congress likely to meet today to decide PKs role

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The Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi on Monday is likely to hold consultation with senior leaders on the role of political strategist Prashant Kishor in the party.

The group, which was constituted to discuss the issue, submitted its report last week.

The Congress wants Kishor to end his previous commitments made to other parties and work solely as a Congressman and not as a consultant. The final decision may be taken after talks with Rahul Gandhi.

The state units are pitched against regional parties in West Bengal, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Hence, it does not want Kishor to have any truck with the regional parties.

The party leaders, who have submitted their report on the issue, admit that there is no harm in the political strategist joining the party but there should be no conflict wherever the party is pitched against regional forces.

Meanwhile, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) on Sunday signed a deal with Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) founded by the election strategist Kishor.

During an interaction with a select group of journalists, TRS Working President K.T. Rama Rao confirmed that his party is working with I-PAC, but claimed that this has nothing to do with Kishor. “PK (as Kishor is popularly known) is the founder, but I don’t know who is running it. PK introduced us to I-PAC and it is working with us,” he said.

He said PK has disassociated himself from I-PAC, which is working with multiple parties across the country. “It’s not just PK we had interactions with. We had multiple iterations of discussions with several others. We spoke to Sunil and others. I-PAC is what we narrowed down to.”

The TRS leader, however, was evasive on whether the agreement is only for 2023 Assembly polls or 2024 Lok Sabha elections as well as the nature of discussions they are holding with PK. “If a gentleman who is into politics, who is into advisory or helpful roles in other places, offers you some inputs, would you not take them?” he asked.

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Congress rules out electoral alliance with TRS

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The Congress on Sunday made it clear that it will not have an alliance with the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in Telangana.

Party MP and incharge of party affairs in Telangana, Manickam Tagore dismissed rumours of an electoral alliance with the ruling TRS for the next year’s Assembly elections.

“The rumours of Congress coalition with TRS are totally false. Congress won’t move back an inch from our commitment to save Telangana from TRS & BJP. Let this be crystal clear to those spreading rumours,” he said in a tweet.

Tagore also told the party cadres to prepare for the May 6 rally at Warangal which will be addressed by party leader Rahul Gandhi.

He on Saturday announced that Gandhi will visit Telangana on May 6-7 and hold a meeting with the party leaders in Hyderabad on May 7.

Tagore tweeted that they welcome their leader after achieving 40 lakh membership enrollment.

During the digital membership enrollment drive, which concluded two days ago, the state Congress has enrolled 40 lakh members.

Gandhi had also told the state party leaders early this month that there would be no truck with the K. Chandrasekhar Rao-led TRS.

State Congress chief A. Revanth Reddy had said after a meeting with Gandhi that the latter made it clear that the Congress will not forge an alliance with the TRS.

Gandhi’s visit, the first to Telangana since 2019 Lok Sabha elections, is seen as an attempt to revitalise the party in the state.

The Congress suffered a series of setbacks since the 2018 Assembly elections. It won only 19 seats in 119-member Assembly in 2018 when the TRS retained power with a huge majority. A few months after the polls, at least a dozen legislators of the Congress defected to the TRS.

With just six MLAs, Congress also lost the status of main opposition party in the Assembly. It also suffered a humiliating defeat in by-elections to a couple of Assembly seats, which the BJP won to project itself as the viable alternative to the TRS.

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Can Prashant Kishore help Congress win 2024?

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Election strategist Prashant Kishore is said to have submitted a report to Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday in the national capital. The report is about the party’s strategy to be followed for the 2024 elections.

The Congress in national politics and in several states is too far from victory in the near future. The party had lost its base in several states and had become weak in national politics over the years.

Sonia Gandhi’s decisions and her coterie alone are to be blamed for the present state of the national party. The party is too far from victory and not a match to the BJP, which had won two successive elections. It had also won four out of five states in the north in the recent past and is fully geared up for the third successful victory in the 2024 elections.

Rahul Gandhi, who took over the reins of the party had failed to lead it and Sonia Gandhi has an aging problem to lead the party. She may not be able to address the election meetings in the states and the other leaders are not known to the people.

In this backdrop, Prashant Kishore is learnt to have prepared a report which included a road map for the Congress to wrest power from the BJP. Prashant Kishore had been successful with whichever party he worked for so far. However, his latest assignment with the Congress may not prove him successful as Congress is inflicted with a leadership crisis.

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Congress demands unemployment emergency in Telangana

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Stating that 40 lakh people are facing hardships due to unemployment problem in Telangana, the opposition Congress party has demanded an unemployment emergency in the state.

AICC spokesperson Dasoju Sravan Kumar said Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao should consider concrete interventions to address and resolve the unemployment problem.

He also urged the Chief Minister to set up a high-level task force with various national-level industrialists, academicians, intellectuals, strategists, policy makers to formulate a strategy with specific task policies to deal with the unemployment which is plaguing the Telangana society. He recalled that such a task force was set up by the Kiran Kumar Reddy government in undivided Andhra Pradesh.

“Since, this is a social issue, an emergency all-party meeting should be held with all political parties,” the Congress leader said and demanded that each unemployed youth should be provided with an unemployment allowance of Rs 3,016 a month by as promised in 2018 assembly elections by the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).

“Skill Development Centres should be set up in each mandal centre in collaboration with the Central Government and job fairs should be organised in collaboration with private sector companies to provide employment to the youth, employment opportunities and training,”

Stating that there are lakhs of applications pending in SC, ST, BC, Minority and MBC corporations, he demanded for immediate disbursement of self-employment loans so that they can stand on their feet.

The Congress also demanded to bring a statutory Act to ensure that 95 per cent of jobs reserved for locals in the private sector too. He also made several other demands, including ex-gratia of Rs one crore to the 70 field assistants who died after being dictatorially terminated from the service causing serious distress and also suggested releasing the full salary to them for two years.

Sravan Kumar said the Telangana government failed to create new jobs and instead the existing jobs were blown away. The government laid off a total of 52,515 employees, including 7651 field assistants. He said 21,200 employees in Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, 1640 Nurses, 709 in Mission Bhagiratha, 315 in Horticulture, 16,400 Education Volunteers, 2000 Junior Panchayat Secretaries, Social Welfare and Education and 2,640 employees of Road Transport Corporation (RTC) were sacked.

In a letter addressed to the Chief Minister, he found fault with the chief minister for his announcement made in the Assembly that 90,000 jobs would be filled while the Bishwal Committee said that there were 1.91 lakh job vacancies in the government departments.

He also offered to help the government as a former professor of HRD, and also having worked in large companies, in various capacities in human resource development departments, in solving the unemployment problem.

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Congress has no problem with TRS meeting its allies

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Irrespective of how TPCC chief Revanth Reddy speaks about TRS and it’s Netas, the message is the Congress doesn’t have any problem with TRS meeting its allies. Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao has been meeting allies of Congress barring an exception of BJP MP Subramanian Swamy. First he met Uddhav Thackeray who is in alliance with Congress and NCP. On Friday, he met Hemant Soren who is in power with help of Congress and RJD.

KCR himself said this cannot be termed as anti-BJP or Anti-congress front.
His reaction was followed by Avinash Pandey Congress General Secretary Incharge of Jharkhand who said that There is no harm in the meeting as Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandashekhar Rao. He went to remind that KCR has been with the UPA in the past and anybody who is trying to defeat the BJP is a good move, but there is writing on the wall that without Congress no government in the centre could be formed.
Telangana state Congress on other hand has been declining of any alliance, but at national level things seem to be different.

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Is a third front possible without Congress, BJP?

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There have been attempts in the country to float a third front at the national level to be a clear alternative to the two national parties – the BJP and the Congress. Telangana Rastra Samiti leader and Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, had made some efforts before the 2019 general elections.

KCR met Trinamool Congress president and West Bengal chief minister Mamatha Benerji and some others before the elections. He claimed big during those days of creating an alternative to both the BJP and the Congress in the national politics. But, nothing worked as he claimed.

Now, once again, before the 2024 general elections, KCR is going around talking about a national alternative to the Congress and the BJP. West Bengal chief minister too is in favour of such an alternative. Even Delhi chief minister and Aam Admi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal too is in favour of such an alternative but he is not ready to take lead.

KCR is on national tour currently to muster support for his third front plan, with all the regional parties. But, it too looks next to impossible as the regional parties have their own interests in their respective states rather than playing a role at the national level.

Interestingly, the two national parties are on similar fronts with some regional parties. While the BJP is leading the NDA, the Congress is heading UPA. The regional parties, which are outside these two fronts, are not interested in another front. As of now it is only KCR and Mamata who are in favour of such a front.

Sharad Pawar of NCP, Udhav Thackery of Shiv Sena, M K Stalin of DMK, the heads of major regional parties are not in favour of joining any front without the Congress. They are currently in alliance with the Congress and going by this, KCR may not succeed in floating a third national alternative ahead of the 2024 general elections.

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It’s election consultants’ time in Telugu states, Cong, Chandrababu rope in same consultant

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With election fever catching up like a cold, the political parties are now seen running after political consultants. Political consultants of various varieties are now being recruited to work for different parties. Even parties like the TRS and the Congress, which spoke derisively about the political strategists, are now falling head over heels inviting them to help win the elections.

While the TRS has latched on to the Team PK, the BJP is working with an organization called “Nation With Namo.” The Congress, which had in the past said that every Congress worker was equal to ten PKs, too is running after consultants now. The Congress is said to have approached former PK-associate Sunil Kanugolu. Sunil, who originally hails from Vijayawada, but shifted base to Chennai.

He has earlier worked for KTR in 2018 elections and took care of the social media, which played a significant role in the TRS victory. Sunil is likely to advise Revanth Reddy for the 2023 elections. Meanwhile, Chandrababu Naidu in neighbouring AP too, is said to have held consultations with Sunil on helping him out in the 2024 elections.

Till now, Chandrababu Naidu depended on poll wizard and former PK Associate Robin Sharma for poll strategies. But, post-2014 elections, repeated reversals in Tirupati, Budvel and in the local body polls. Meanwhile, Sharmila in Telangana too is banking on poll wizard Priya, who too is a former Prashant Kishore associate. So, it’s election consultants’ time in both the Telugu states.

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Congress-turned-TRS MLAs worried about their future?

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With TRS president and Telangana Chief Minister openly coming in support of not just Congress leader Rahul Gandhi but also previous Prime Ministers from Gandhi family Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.

12 MLAs from Congress defected into TRS in 2019 soon after December 2018 Assembly polls. They jumped into TRS after they felt that they have no political future in Congress.

With KCR showering praises on Gandhi family in public for the last days, these defected Congress MLAs reportedly started worrying about their political future.

They fear that TRS and Congress may form alliance for 2023 Assembly polls and they may not get tickets in alliance.

They fear that Congress may seek these 12 seats as part of alliance.

They suspect that they will lose tickets in TRS to contest 2023 Assembly polls and they will have no scope to reenter Congress for tickets.

It is rumoured that there is severe anti incumbency against these 12 Congress defected MLAs and KCR is not keen to give them TRS tickets in 2023 Assembly polls.

These 12 Congress defected MLAs feel that if TRS and Congress enter into alliance, they will become ‘na ghar ka-na ghat ka’.

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