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So much action in Telangana, but no key Congress leader in Hyderabad

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The TRS leaders are busy in Huzurnagar with an eye on the soon-to-be-held bypolls. CM KCR is in Siddipet on a four-district tour to drum up support for the party especially in the wake of the rebellion by Eatala Rajender. The BJP is working hard to win Huzurabad and all key leaders are busy strategising. But, what are the Congress leaders doing?

Surprise…surprise. None of the key leader is in Telangana. Everyone who matters in the Congress Party is now camping in Delhi. The reason? To lobby for the Telangana PCC chief post. Key leaders like Nalgonda MP Komatireddy Rajagopala Reddy, Secunderabad MP Revanth Reddy, former minister Duddilla Sridhar Babu, MLC Jeevan Reddy are all camping in New Delhi. They are trying pull all the levers to bag the post of PCC chief.

Insiders say the PCC chief would be announced in a week’s time and the high command is busy studying the possible names for the PCC chief’s post. So, every leader is trying his luck. One leader is busy spoiling the chances of these candidates. He wants a BC to become PCC chief. But, he doesn’t have any name except his own to offer. This leader is V Hanumantha Rao.

For the past one week, all these leaders are staying put in Delhi and are trying to secure the appointment of key leaders. They are trying to argue their case as the PCC chief.

Meanwhile, the PCC chief’s post has been vacant for quite some time. Though Uttam Kumar Reddy is there, he is a stop-gap arrangement and has time and again expressed his willingness to step down. But, the high command is unable to find a suitable replacement. Covid and Nagarjunasagar bypoll too have delayed the appointment. The Congress workers feel that it is time that the high command acted decisively and announced a name for the PCC chief’s post.

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Huzurabad bypolls: Dubbak formula vs Nagarjunasagar formula

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The Telangana Bharatiya Janata Party has begun its preparations for the Huzurabad byelections. The party feels that though Etela Rajender is yet to join the party, the BJP should start the ground work immediately. The BJP feels that it has to implement the Dubbak strategy and not Nagarjunasagar strategy.

In Dubbak, the party began the spade work in the constituency soon after the death of sitting MLA Solipeta Ramalinga Reddy. Raghunandan Rao began meeting people and started wooing them. Even before the election notification was issued, he began his leg work and had covered the whole constituency. In Nagarjunasagar, the party was undecided about the candidate and waited for the TRS and the Congress to announce their candidate. A lot of time was lost in waiting for Jana Reddy or his son Raghuveer to join the party.

Also in Dubbak, BJP leaders adopted a carpet-bombing strategy and one popular leader after another toured the constituency and addressed public meetings. In Nagarjunasagar, fewer leaders campaigned and the fight was half-hearted. Though there was some initial dissidence in Dubbak, the party leadership had put its weight behind Raghunandan Rao. In case of Nagarjunasagar, dissidence and non-cooperation were too conspicuous to be ignored.

The BJP wants to follow the Dubbak model for Huzurabad. Party affairs incharge Tarun Chugh has held a meeting with key party leaders on Thursday and directed them to regularly visit Huzurabad one after another and hold meetings regularly. He also told them to organise party workers meetings on a regular basis. Key leaders were told to undertake an outreach programme in Huzurabad constituency.

The party feels that Dubbak formula will help defeat the ruling TRS. The party feels that the contest would be very keen and that the TRS will marshal all its resources to win Huzurabad. The BJP too should strain its every nerve to wrest Huzurabad, Chugh told the party leaders.

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How BJP’s ‘secret operation’ sent media, Congress into a tizzy?

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The ruling BjP at the Centre has managed to maintain complete secrecy and achieve complete surprise in the Jitin Prasada’s joining of the BJP. That Jitin Prasada was going to join the BJP was made public only after he left his home to meet Minister Piyush Goel.

Operation Jitin Prasada caught the Congress completely by surprise and it had no time to talk to him. The Congress did not have an inkling that Jitin was leaving the party. The BJP talked to him several months ago, but kept in under wraps. No statement was made and there was not even an off-the-cuff remark anywhere.

Even on Wednesday, BJP spokesperson Anil Baluni tweeted about a ‘big personality’ joining the BJP at around 10 am. Since he did not reveal the name, everyone began making guestimates. Many thought it could be Sachin Pilot and started making calls to him. Some felt that since Anil Baluni was from Uttarakhand, the Congressman could be from that state. It was only when Jitin Prasada reached Piyush Goel that it became clear that it was Jitin Prasada. Even before the media could reach Goel’s residence, both Goel and Prasad left for Amit Shah’s residence. Both president Nadda and Amit Shah were not present at the joining. This was done to mislead those who keep a tab on Nadda and Shah.

But why so much secrecy? Last time in 2019, Jitin Prasada wanted to join the BJP. The Congress got wind of it fairly in advance and sent Jyotiraditya Scindia to convince him to stay back in the party. The BJP was left high and dry. So, this time the BJP wanted to outsmart the Congress and the media, which usually tips off Congress about the internal happenings in BJP.

Jitin Prasada is a prize catch as he is a Brahmin and Brahmins are politically very important in UP. With UP going to polls early next year, Jitin Prasada could be a very useful addition.

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Why is Revanth Reddy missing from Congress group pic?

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Finally, the Telangana Congress has shown the resolve to take on KCR. It has organised a state-wide satyagraha against the ruling TRS. All major leaders sat together in the dharna and staged protest. Speeches were made and the TRS was roundly criticised. So far so good! But, where is TPCC working president Revanth Reddy ?  Well! Revanth Reddy was conspicuous by his absence.

Revanth Reddy, who is now considered the hot favourite for the post of the PCC chief was not invited to the meeting. The other leaders, who were present, also did not make any announcement as to why Revanth was missing from the group pic.  But, even in his absence, Revanth Reddy was the hot topic of discussion among the Congress circles. The party workers debated over his absence from such an important protest programme.

This has once again exposed the schism in the Congress Party. Young Revanth, who has mass appeal and has considerable support among the youths, is all alone in the party echelons. The leaders in the state unit are clearly not happy with his rise. He has not been invited to the programmes earlier too. This assumes significance as Revanth is tipped to be the next PCC chief.

The Congress leaders, including PCC chief Uttam Kumar Reddy, Malli Bhatti Vikramarka, D Sridhar Babu, Vamshi Chandar Reddy, Ponnala Lakshmaiah and others, sat on a dharna till 1 pm on Monday. The Congress leaders slammed  KCR government for its alround failure to tackle Corona. They expressed alarm at the growth of black fungus cases in the state and said the State Government was doing nothing to salvage the situation. 

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Reviving fortunes in Telangana: An uphill task for Cong

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Seven years after formation of Telangana as a separate state, Congress party is still struggling to regain the lost ground in its former stronghold.

The party’s defeat in the recent by-election to Nagarjuna Sagar Assembly constituency shows that its fortunes in the state continue to plummet.

Reeling under defections of a dozen MLAs to ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) since 2018 Assembly polls and series of electoral debacles since, Congress is facing its worst crisis.

The emergence of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as the main opposition party following its victory in Dubbak Assembly by-election and its impressive performance in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) polls late last year has only added to woes of Congress party.

With the central leadership of the grand old party taking no step to set the house in order in Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC), which remained virtually headless following resignation of Uttam Kumar Reddy in December last year, the party appears to be in a total disarray.

Political analysts say that bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh by granting statehood to Telangana was itself a political gamble by the Congress to arrest the slide in its traditional stronghold. The party was hoping to remain afloat at least in Telangana by claiming credit for carving out the separate state.

However, TRS chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao dashed its hopes by rejecting the proposal to merge his party with Congress. He decided to maintain the identity of TRS as a political party and vowed to transform newly created state into ‘Bangaru Telangana’ or golden Telangana.

KCR, as Rao is popularly known, succeeded in claiming credit for achieving the goal of separate state by winning the public mandate. In 2014 elections, held just before formal bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, TRS won 63 seats in 119-member Telangana Assembly.

The Congress party, which was completely wiped out in Andhra Pradesh due to the public anger over bifurcation, could win 22 seats. However, the party failed to keep its flock together as several of its leaders defected to TRS.

In 2018 Assembly elections, held a few months before the term of the Assembly was to end, Congress faced a disaster. It could win just 19 seats, though it had forged electoral alliance with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and other TRS opponents.

However, the worst was yet to come for the party. Even before it could gear up for Lok Sabha elections in 2019, it had lost as many as 12 MLAs to the ruling party. Though the party salvaged some pride by winning three Lok Sabha seats, with the reduced strength in Assembly it lost the status of main opposition to Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), a friendly party of TRS.

The party suffered a huge embarrassment as it failed to retain Huzurnagar Assembly seat, where by-election was necessitated with the resignation of Uttam Kumar Reddy following his election to Lok Sabha.

The TRS wrested the seat from Congress as its candidate S. Saidi Reddy was elected with a huge margin of over 43,000 votes. Uttam’s wife N. Padmavathi Reddy finished a distant runner-up.

It was in September last year that the AICC named Manickam Tagore as new incharge for Telangana, replacing R. C. Khuntia. However, even his appointment could not stop the party’s slide in the state.

The BJP, which became aggressive following its impressive performance in Lok Sabha polls by winning four seats, added to the worries of Congress. Projecting itself as the only viable alternative, the saffron party started making inroads with ‘Mission 2023′.

The BJP wrested Dubbak from TRS to further consolidate itself. The saffron party, which hardly had any presence in the constituency, pushed Congress party to third position.

The Congress party suffered another humiliation a month later as it could win just two seats in 150-member Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). In its best-ever performance in the civic body, the BJP bagged 48 seats to deny the TRS a clear majority.

The emergence of BJP as the main opposition party sent alarm bells ringing. Owning moral responsibility for the defeat, Uttam Kumar Reddy resigned as the party chief.

The party suffered more blows as it lost several leaders to BJP. They included D. K. Aruna, who was later made national vice president of BJP and actress Vijayashanti.

The beleaguered party faced another jolt late last year when its MLA Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy announced that he would quit the Congress and join the BJP soon.

Rajagopal Reddy stated that the BJP is the only alternative to TRS, as the Congress party had failed to put up a strong fight.

If Rajagopal Reddy defects to the BJP, the Congress will be left with just five MLAs in the Assembly.

Former MP Konda Vishweshwar Reddy, who resigned TRS to join Congress on the eve of 2018 elections, recently quit Congress party and is now working to bring together non-BJP and non-Congress parties against TRS.

Even after six months, the central leadership of Congress party has not named a new state president. The groupism in the party came to fore with leaders lobbying for the posts publicly targeting each other to mar the prospects of their rivals.

Fearing that change of leadership would impact the party’s chances in Nagarjuna Sagar by-election, the high command delayed naming Uttam Kumar Reddy’s successor.
The Congress party was pinning its hopes on this by-election to revive its fortunes in the state. Its leaders were confident that senior leader and former minister K. Jana Reddy will wrest the seat from TRS to give the party a new hope.

However, Jana Reddy, a seven-time MLA lost by over 18,000 votes to TRS debutant Nomula Bhagat, whose father Nomula Narasimhaiah had defeated the Congress leader in 2018.

Narasimhaiah’s death in December last year caused the vacancy and the by-election was held on April 17.

The only solace for the Congress party was that it finished runners-up and BJP was distant third with its candidate forfeiting his deposit.

Political analysts say while it’s not all over for the Congress party, it is facing an uphill challenge to revive past glory in the country and especially in Telangana.

“The party’s decline at the central stage has weakened its position in this State too. But it can revive its position, and the upcoming elections could be one last opportunity to not lost further ground,” said analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy.

“Congress still has a fixed vote bank in the country, and more so in Telangana. The party has to ensure it does not slip further and lose its loyal cadre to the ruling TRS or the BJP, which aims to occupy at least the position of main opposition in Telangana,” he said.

The analyst says Congress was suffering due to the delay in naming the new leader and lack of a popular face. “Congress needs to first decide on who would be the face of the party in the next elections, bind all leaders together with the common goal to win in the State. The party should try to ensure that no more prominent leaders leave Congress, but if there are any trojan horses in its ranks, they need to be weeded out sooner than later,” he added.

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Telangana Congress seeks CBI probe into advocate couple’s murder

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Telangana’s opposition Congress on Friday submitted a memorandum to Governor, Dr Tamilisai Soundarajan, seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the killing of advocate couple.

A delegation of party leaders led by state party chief Uttam Kumar Reddy met the Governor at Raj Bhavan and submitted her a memorandum for a court-monitored CBI probe into the gruesome murder of Gattu Vaman Rao and his wife Nagamani, who were practicing at the Telangana High Court.

The couple were waylaid and brutally hacked to death in full public view by two assailants in Peddapalli district on February 17.

Police have so far arrested four accused including a mandal-level leader of ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), who has been since suspended from the party, and the nephew of another TRS leader and Zilla Parishad chairman Putta Madhu.

Reddy, who is also a Member of Parliament, alleged that the murders are an attack on the legal community to silence them and “prevent them from exposing the massive corruption and misuse of state power”.

The Congress leader alleged that the advocates were murdered to prevent the truth from coming out in the death of Seelam Rangaiah, a Dalit, in police custody.

Reddy told reporters that the Governor responded positively to their demand for the CBI probe.

Alleging that the ruling party leaders are involved in the murder, he said the police were not probing their role.

The state Congress chief said the couple was killed in a pre-planned manner as they had approached the High Court for justice in Dalit youth’s death in police custody and they were also proving hurdle for TRS leaders’ illegal activities in Manthani.

Reddy claimed that Vaman Rao was silenced as he was gearing up for a fight over illegal mining of sand worth Rs 4,000 crore from the Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project.

He said Vaman Rao was also exposing the Putta Lingamma Charitable Trust for illegally mobilising funds.

The High Court, which took suo moto cognizance of the double murder on February 18, directed the government to conduct thorough investigation and submit a status report by March 1.

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T’gana Cong passes resolution favouring Rahul as party chief

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The Telangana unit of the Congress on Sunday passed a resolution urging Rahul Gandhi to again take up the national president’s post of the party.

A meeting of all 33 District Congress Committees (DCCs) held in Khammam unanimously passed the resolution favouring Rahul Gandhi as the president of All India Congress Committee (AICC).

It urged him to take up the post again and offered full support.

The meeting was attended by AICC incharge for party affairs in Telangana and party MP Manickam Tagore, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC), working president Ponnam Prabhakar, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, senior leaders and presidents of DCCs.

The meeting was held as part of the efforts by the party to strengthen the organization in the state.

Tagore said formation of all booth, mandal, town and district level committees would be completed in 15 days.

He said that booth level committees will be constituted in 30 days.

Tagore, who launched our polling booth our pride strategy, said each booth committee will have 15 members.

He said that after Congress comes to power at the Centre and in Telangana an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will be ordered into corruption charges against Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and his family members.

On the allegations of corruption being made by union minister of state for home G. Kishan Reddy and other BJP leaders against Chandrasekhar Rao, the Congress leader wanted to know why BJP government has not ordered any probe against the chief minister and his family members.

Tagore alleged that CM KCR bows before Prime Minister Narendra Modi and union home minister Amit Shah out of fear that the Centre may order investigations against him. “Every time KCR goes to Delhi he bows before them,” he said.

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Congress gets big shock ahead of Dubbaka byelections

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The Dubbaka triangular contest is turning out to be interesting with all the parties in the fray taking the bypolls prestigious. TRS leader Cheruku Srinivas Reddy and son of former minister Cheruku Muthyam Reddy, defected from the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) to join the Congress Party ahead of the elections.

Two Congress leaders from Dubbaka gave shock to the party by joining the ruling TRS. The two Congress leaders – Komatireddy Venkateswara Reddy and B Manohar Rao – joined the TRS in the presence of finance minister Harish Rao and MP Kotha Prabhakar.

The two leaders joined the party along with 2,000 party supporters which is likely to impact the prospects of the Congress Party ahead of the bypolls. The Congress is making all out efforts to wrest the Dubbaka seat from the TRS with the Telangana party president Uttam Kumar Reddy, MPs Revanth Reddy and Komatireddy Venkat Reddy, CLP leader Bhatti Vikramarka hitting the roads for an extensive campaign.

Welcoming the two party leaders, Harish Rao said the Congress Party has become bankrupt with the joining of Komatireddy Venkateswara Reddy and B Manohar Rao.

“TRS government introduced Kalyan Lakshmi Shadi Mubarak scheme to provide financial assistance for marriages of the poor. We have been disburing Rs 1,00,116. So far, the TRS government conducted more than 7 lakh marriages under Kalyan Lakshmi Shadi Mubarak scheme. I want to ask the Congress Party if such a scheme was introduced by the Congress governments in Punjab, Pondicherry and Maharasthra,” Harish Rao asked.

Further, Harish Rao slammed TPCC president Uttam Kumar Reddy for calling Solipeta Sujatha Reddy, wife of late four-time MLA Ramalinga Reddy, as an inefficient leader. Dubbaka Assembly constituency which fell vacant following the sudden demise of sitting MLA Solipeta Ramalinga Reddy. The TRS appears confident to retain the seat as it has fielded Sujatha on sympathy factor.

Harish Rao, who has been running an intensive campaign visiting villages in Dubbaka, exuded confidence that the TRS will retain the seat by a margin of over one lakh votes.

The BJP has fielded Raghunandan Rao. Minister of State for Home Kishan Reddy, BJP national vice-president D K Aruna and Telangana party president Bandi Sanjay Kumar are banking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image which is unlikely to be a factor in the local elections. The bypoll notification for Dubbaka will be issued on October 9. The last date for filing nominations will be October 16. The last date for withdrawal of candidatures will be October 19. The entire election process will be completed before November 12.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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