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BJP and Congress eager to win new allies?

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The Bharatiya Janata Party leaders outwardly assert that their party will win over 300 MP seats to form the government at the Centre with a comfortable majority. Internally, there are doubts whether the party will cross 180 seats. This is the reason why Modi and Amit Shah are very anxious to win new allies regardless of what sacrifices it may take. As part of this, Modi came down a few steps and acted favourably towards the Navin Patnaik government in Odisha in the releasing of Central funds for Fani cyclone relief works.

In fact, the BJP gave a very tough fight to the Biju Janata Dal party of Navin in the present election. There was a lot of grass roots conflict as the BJP made all out efforts to win majority seats in Odisha. Despite this bitter enemity, Modi changed his stance now to win BJD’s favour if required after the May 23 results. Similarly, Congress leaders are also eager to win new allies at any cost. Speculation is that there are more regional parties to support Congress if it crosses 140 seats in Lok Sabha. Even BJD, TRS and YCP are expected to support Congress if it manages to hurt the BJP considerably in the North Indian states.

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KCR loses hopes on Modi and gains confidence in Congress?

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Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao is moving quickly to take maximum advantage during the formation of next government at the Centre. He seems to have lost hopes on the BJP’s winning chances this time. Political circles say that KCR is now trying to develop cordial relations with the Congress party. In his opinion, the Congress will get far less seats than BJP. So, Congress would be greatly dependent on regional allies which will give KCR a greater bargaining power once a Congress-led government comes to power at the Centre.

There are also reports that KCR has already begun efforts to gain confidence of Rahul Gandhi through Karnataka Chief Minister Kumaraswamy Gowda. This triggered speculation at the national level that KCR along with Jaganmohan Reddy will extend their support to the Congress-led alliance eventually. KCR has reportedly told Kumaraswamy that TRS and YCP together will have enough seats to help Congress gain upper hand over BJP. Analysts say that KCR has almost taken his decision to support Congress alliance.

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KCR has practicable ideas for a non-BJP, non-Congress Front: Kerala CM

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Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao met with Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan in Kerala. He told Vijayan about the aims and objectives of Federal Front and how the country badly needs a change of leadership at the national level. For seven decades, the Congress and the BJP ruled India but they have not brought in needed development as there are still villages that have no roads and electricity.

KCR explained how the Federal Front aims to serve as an effective platform for the non-BJP, non-Congress parties to assert their rights and emerge as a power centre in Delhi. The ultimate goal is to get more power to the regional parties in the national arena. Kerala CM Vijayan described KCR’s ideas as practicable. He said that these ideas would be discussed and debated within the CPM soon. KCR visited Kerala along with his family members and they offered prayers at the Ananta Padmanabha Swamy Temple.

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Congress workers attack MLA for joining TRS

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Yellendu MLA Banothu Haripriya won the 2018 election on the Congress ticket in Khammam district Telangana. Recently, she shifted loyalty to the Telangana Rashtra Samithi. Accompanied by TRS activists, she visited Govindrala village to campaign for the victory of TRS loyalists for the MPTC and ZPTC elections. There was also some local police force. Still, the Congress party activists in the village came out in large numbers and confronted the MLA. They picked up heated arguments saying that they fought very hard to get her elected. But now the MLA came to their village to ask for support to their rivals in the village.

The tensions increased as the TRS activists also gathered in good numbers and confronted the Congress members. They attacked each other with chappals and stones. The police couldn’t control the situation as the clashing groups far outnumbered them. Haripriya had no choice but to leave the village midway with the help of local police. Some activists were injured in the clash. The situation came under control a while after the MLA left the village.

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Professor Nageshwar – Why TRS plans to merge Congress in it?

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The ruling TRS is on a hectic plan to lure as many as Congress MLAs to its fold so that the grand old party loses its existence in the state legislature. In 2018 Assembly elections, the Congress won 19 seats. Among whom 12 have already shifted their loyalties to the ruling party. In its first innings too, the TRS executed Operation Aakarsh and poached several of the opposition MLAs. The chief Minister KCR had a justification for this politics of encouraging defections. According to KCR, the opposition was hatching out a conspiracy to destabilise his government in a bid to prove that Telangana experiment was a failure. The TRS won 63 out of 119 seats. The smaller margin for TRS gave credence to KCR claims. Congress has a history of undertaking such operations to weaken its political rivals. But, in the elections held after premature dissolution of the state assembly, the TRS won 88 seats and two independents joining the party took the tally to 90. Still, the TRS continues with its policy of encouraging defections from opposition parties. The two TDP MLAs are in TRS fold. The TDP lost its hopes in Telangana as the party is seen as Andhra origin party. With the TDP leaders losing the confidence of revival in Telangana, they have a reason to defect. But, the Congress MLAs who won the mandate primarily opposing the TRS regime are joining the party claiming that they want to strengthen the hands of KCR who is developing the state. The fact remains is that the ruling TRS is luring opposition MLAs in a bid to stifle the dissent.

Chief minister KCR has a special plan designed at Congress. The TRS has already lured 12 Congress MLAs. It hopes to get the support of one more MLA so that the two-thirds of Congress legislature party would merge with TRS to avert the action under the anti-defection law. The TRS played the same trick in the Legislative Council with both the Congress and the TDP legislature parties merging with TRS. Judiciary has to pronounce its verdict on the legality of such a merger exploiting the provisions of the anti-defection law. But, the political intent in these machinations is very clear. The TRS has already succeeded in stripping the Congress its status of the main opposition party. The Congress needs at least 10 per cent of the strength of the legislature in this case 12 to retain the opposition party status. The party has already lost it. Now, the TRS intends to unveil the MIM as the opposition party with the highest number of MLAs. The MIM has seven members in the house. If the Congress loses its 13th legislator, the party would only have six MLAs lagging behind MIM. Thus, a friendly party assumes the role of the main opposition party.

With this, the Congress would not just lose the main opposition party status, it would also demoralise the party and incapacitate it from launching any agitations in the next four to five years. The TDP is decimated from the state. The YSR Congress which won an MP and three MLA seats in 2014 has withdrawn from Telangana politics and is most unlikely to return given its interests in Andhra Pradesh. Even if it comes back it would be playing a role of further weakening the Congress vote base. The YSR Congress and TRS enjoy comradely relationship. KCR may even bring in YSR Congress to further weaken the Congress. The social base of YSR Congress and the Congress remain the same and any presence of Jagan’s party would only harm the interests of Congress.

The BJP’s tally has come down from five in the last assembly to only one. The CPI and the CPI(M) fail to get any representation in the state legislature. The BJP’s national leadership do not yet consider KCR as a foe given the coalition compulsions at the centre making the saffron party fight for proper political space in the state.
Meanwhile, the Congress moved High Court on the plans contemplated by the TRS. But, the Telangana High Court refused to take up urgent hearing on the Congress petition.

( Prof.K. Nageshwar is India’s noted political analyst. He is a former member of the Telangana Legislative Council and professor in the Department of Communication & Journalism, Osmania University, Hyderabad, India )

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Congress vows to make ‘CM at Secretariat’ mandatory, if comes back to power

Hyderabad: If voted to power, Congress party wants to make it a mandatory that chief minister should function from Secretariat and maintain attendance for a certain number of days in a month to meet public. Congress party has demanded that Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao should start functioning from Secretariat.

“We’re proposing amendments to relevant laws to make it mandatory for chief minister to function from Secretariat and should attend the CMO for a certain number of days in a month. If Congress returns to the power at the Centre, then it’ll make a law for all the chief ministers in the country to compulsory function from Secretariat only. Telangana CM is acting more like a TRS chief and politician rather than chief minister. KCR never bothered to be a representative of four crore Telanganites. Ever since Telangana became a reality in June 2014, KCR has been busy with election strategies, Operation Akarsh and weakening the opposition. For this, KCR has violated all the laws and neglected welfare of the people and economy development,” said Gudur Narayanaa Reddy, TPCC Treasurer.

Accroding to the new Panchayatiraj Act, which has been modified by the TRS government, any ZP chairman, MPP president and vice-president can be disqualified if they don’t attend the office continuously for 15 days. Our chief minister KCR violated this law by over 50 times and he’s now qualified for disqualification. KCR is operating from Pragati Bhavan and spends his rest of the time at his farm house. Common public don’t have access to the chief minister,” he said.

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No dominant wave in favour of BJP or Congress?

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The voters mood in the present Lok Sabha election is becoming more and more unpredictable. Analysts say that there is no clear dominant wave in favour of either BJP or Congress. It is largely because of the absence of either pro- or anti-Modi mood in different parts of the country. As a result, the polling percentages are very low in some states in North India and the Hindi-speaking belt.

The BJP is heavily depending on the Modi factor in North Indian states where the bomb strikes on terror camps in Pakistan have create a good mood for the ruling party. PM Modi has become popular among the masses and he has repeatedly highlighted military successes in his election speeches.

On its part, the Congress is not able to take forward its campaign on alleged corruption in Rafale jet fighters deal. Rahul Gandhi’s attacks over the demonetisation and GST have also not created a big impact. So, the party had to depend heavily on the local factors in different states. The Congress expects to make significant gains in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh where its chief ministers are putting the best efforts.

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Telangana Congress moves HC to stall CLP’s merger with TRS

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Opposition Congress leaders in Telangana have approached the High Court, seeking direction to the State Assembly Speaker not to merge Congress Legislature Party (CLP) with the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).

Amid reports that 11 MLAs who defected to TRS mulling to request Speaker P. Srinivas Reddy to merge CLP with TRS, State Congress chief Uttam Kumar Reddy and CLP leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka on Monday filed a petition in the High Court.

They sought direction to the Speaker not to issue any orders for CLP’s merger with the TRS till their petitions for disqualification of defectors were disposed of. They also urged the court to direct the Speaker to issue a notice to them before merging CLP with the ruling party.

Eleven Congress MLAs have quit the party and joined TRS during last two months. Congress has already submitted petitions to the Speaker to disqualify them.

In the Assembly elections held in December, Congress had won 19 seats in 119-member Assembly.

As the two-third MLAs of Congress have crossed over to TRS, there has been speculation for the last few days that they may request the Speaker to merge CLP with the legislature party of TRS. In the event of the merger, Congress will lose the status of main opposition party in the Assembly.

Uttam Kumar Reddy had written to Speaker on Sunday urging him to inform the Congress about any request for merger of defected Congress MLAs with the TRS. He also claimed that the Speaker was not competent enough to merge the legislature wing of a party with other party.

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Congress moves SC as EC ‘fails to act’ against Modi, Shah

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear on Tuesday a Congress petition that claimed that the Election Commission had refused to act on a complaint against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah for making “hate speeches” and “using” armed forces for “political propaganda” during the Lok Sabha polls.

The Congress alleged that EC’s “silence” was an indirect endorsement of the violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

A bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, agreed to hear the petition on Tuesday after it was mentioned as “urgent” by senior advocate A.M. Singhvi and advocate Sunil Fernandes.

Singhvi, while making oral mentioning of the petition before the bench, did not take names of the PM and Amit Shah. The bench said: “Why don’t you clearly take the names? We will hear you last. You should stop this game of hide and seek.”

The bench took note of the petition by Singhvi and asked him why he is hesitating to take names of the BJP leaders. The bench then asked the counsel to say “whatever he wanted to”.

The 146-page petition was filed by Sushmita Dev, Congress candidate from Assam’s Silchar Lok Sabha constituency. In the petition, the Congress alleged that the rules and regulations inscribed in the Model Code of Conduct were not meant for the Prime Minister and his party President but applicable only on other candidates.

“It is in public domain that they have indulged in hate speeches, repeatedly used the armed forces for political propaganda, despite a clear prohibition on the same by the EC,” said the petition.

The petition said the delay of more than 3 weeks in decision-making or the absence of a decision were, in fact, decisions in themselves.

The Congress said 40 representations on violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) were brought to the notice of the EC so far, but it did not lead to any action.

“It would not be overstating that inaction by the respondents is a tacit endorsement of the statements and a clean chit to the individuals whose statements and actions are, on the face of it, in violation of the provisions of the Representation of the People Act and the election rules 1961,” contended the Congress.

The petition alleged that since March 10, after the notification for the elections was issued, Modi and Shah had “violated” the provisions of the Representation of the People Act and the election rules.

The petition cited the recent temporary ban on campaigning imposed on BSP leader Mayawati for violating the MCC and equated “lack of action” against Modi and Shah. “It demonstrates abdication and indecision and a complete absence of justice in ensuring a level playing field,” the petitioner argued.

The petition cited the Prime Minister’s rally held on April 23, the day of polling in Gujarat. “…despite being the Constitutional watchdog for ensuring free and fair elections, (the EC) has become a tool in the hands of the dispensation to facilitate violation of the provisions of the Constitution, the provisions of the Act and the rules,” the petition alleged.

The petition also cited the PM’s comment on Rahul Gandhi’s choice of Wayanad as “a seat where the minority is majority”.

It also alleged that Modi was “seeking votes” in the names of the CRPF soldiers killed in the terror attack in Pulwama in Kashmir.

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Bookies bet on 245 seats for BJP, 77 for Congress

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With 240 constituencies still to go to the hustings, satta markets are betting on the BJP to win the Lok Sabha elections.

The odds are that the BJP is likely to pool 245 seats on its own, which is 27 short of a simple majority, as against 77 of the Congress party.

The bookies have made these predictions on the basis of polling for 303 seats in the first three phases across the country, while polling for the remaining 240 constituencies will be held on April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19.

The figure of 245 seats for the ruling party has increased from 232 predicted about a week ago after two rounds of balloting. The results will be announced on May 23.

The Lok Sabha has 543 seats and a single party or a coalition putting together 272 seats can form a government.

The base betting rate for the 245 seats predicted for BJP is Rs 1 per seat, which goes down to 40 paise for 220-225 and 25 paise for 200-205 seats. “The lower the amount, the more is the surety of the outcome and fewer bets there. For instance, the bet for Rajkot Lok Sabha seat is only 18 paise for the BJP and for Bhavnagar it is 11 paise which means the party is almost sure to win these seats and there is nothing much to earn there on the predictable,” a bookie explained.

Reliable sources in the betting markets in the state disclosed to IANS that the BJP is likely to win 22 out of 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat, 20 out of 29 in Madhya Pradesh, 18 out of 25 in Rajasthan and 43 out of 80 in Uttar Pradesh – the four states which contributed as many as 149 seats out of the total 283 that the BJP bagged in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

These predictions indicate a fall of 46 seats for the ruling party.

No bets are usually put on the National Democratic Alliance or the United Progressive Alliance since the markets do not want to take risks on the number of partners the alliances may eventually have after the results are declared. They prefer individual national parties.

The biggest election betting markets in Gujarat are in Bhavnagar district-town (Saurashtra region) and Banaskantha district (North Gujarat). Predictions are made on the basis of polling percentages and the possible trends thereof where polling is yet to take place as well as a host of other local factors.

“There is nobody big or small in our business, no single market, be it in Delhi or elsewhere that drives the numbers. The predictions are a result of a broad consensus and they do not differ from city to city,” a leading bookie in Bhavnagar district told IANS, on condition of anonymity.

He added that there is no estimate on the size of the market, nor to the number of people placing bets. “I can only tell you it is huge,” the bookie said.

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KCR violates Election Code in land regularisation issue: Congress

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Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao has violated Election Code as he ordered for regularising land for two MLAs, who defected to TRS, alleges Congress party.

Sandra Venkata Veeraiah, won on TDP ticket from Sathupalli Assembly and later joined TRS. Telangana Congress has rapped the TRS chief for encouraging defections by luring other party MLAs with commissions and illegal favours.

A senior leader from Congress party has revealed that “KCR has ordered for regularising Rs5-crore worth 1,000 square yards land in Khammam for Rs50 lakh in the name of the Sathupally MLA. This is nothing, but violating the Election Code and it’s subject to Lok Pal Act. Congress party demands for an inquiry into it. We’ll to New Delhi to complaint to Lok Pal chairman. In another case, KCR has ordered for regularization of 10,000 square yards of land, which is worth Rs100 crore, in Khammam in the name of Puvvada Ajay, an MLA from Khammam. The land was encroached by filling a nala in 2014 year. Vanam Venkateshwar Rao, Kothagudem MLA, received favour in form of 80 acres. Paler MLA Kandala Upender Reddy also joined TRS as he was given contracts and clearance of pending bills.”

Congress has further added that TRS won 88 Assembly seats out of 119 in Telangana, but later it managed to enhance the tally to 100 by illegally attracting 12 MLAs including two independent rebel candidates and two TDP MLAs and rest from Congress.

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What if there is a hung parliament?

Conventional wisdom has it that the current polls will not produce a clear-cut result as in 2014.

The reason is that there is no definite trend for or against any party at the national level although such tendencies are there in some states such as Tamil Nadu.

However, in the absence of an all-India “wave”, neither of the two main groups of protagonists – the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the parties in the “secular” camp – is expected easily to cross the half-way mark of 272 seats in the Lok Sabha.

The general assumption is that the NDA may barely cross the finishing line or just fall short while the BJP will not get a majority of its own although it is likely to emerge as the largest party.

In that event, there is every possibility of the BJP being given the first chance by the President to form a government. Furthermore, there will be no difficulty for it if the NDA has a majority.

However, the thinness of the NDA’s lead over the other parties can pose a problem. For instance, the critics are bound to interpret the NDA’s slender majority as a virtual rejection by the voters of its legitimacy in view of the fall in its seats from the present 336.

There is a political need, therefore, for the BJP to repeat its 2014 performance if the party wants to persist with its current dominance.

The scene will obviously be even worse for the BJP if the NDA is unable to get a majority and there is a hung parliament. It has been suggested that it will then have to look for potential allies to cross the magical figure of 272.

In this context, several names are already in the air, such as those of Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao and the rising Andhra Pradesh leader Jagan Mohan Reddy, although both have been critical of the BJP.

Rao, for instance, had once taken the initiative to constitute a non-BJP, non-Congress federal front in Mamata Banerjee’s company, but the project went nowhere.

Reddy is at present too focussed on his battles with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu to pay much attention to national politics. But he appears to have decided to keep his lines open for both the BJP and the Congress.

Another party whose name has figured in the speculation is that of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), a one-time ally of the BJP which is now engaged in trying to maintain its dominance in Odisha against a combative BJP which has replaced the Congress as the BJD’s main opponent in the state.

At the all-India level, the BJD’s position is for maintaining equidistance from both the BJP and the Congress. However, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is of the view that he will go with that party at the centre which will show special consideration for the state.

It doesn’t take much perspicacity to believe that if push comes to shove for the BJP, struggling to maintain the NDA’s majority in the Lok Sabha, it will listen to Odisha’s plea for help with greater sympathy.

Given such possibilities, it is obvious that the BJP will not be able to display the kind of chutzpah that it does at present. It is bound to be far more subdued, a posture it adopted recently when concluding pre-poll seat arrangements with the Shiv Sena, the Janata Dal (United) and the Lok Janshakti Party.

How will the national opposition fare in these circumstances? For a start, it will have to accept the inconvenient truth about itself that an inability to get its act together to stand united against the BJP made it lose the race.

Moreover, the ego hassles among its senior leaders which scuttled the earlier talks about forming a mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) with a single opposition candidate against the BJP in every constituency will continue to help the BJP retain its hold on power.

The only card which the opposition can play even in its fractured state is to assert that the 2014 outcome was an aberration caused up by two factors – the unexpected rise of Narendra Modi as a popular leader and the equally unexpected collapse of the Congress because of corruption – an old malady – and policy paralysis, a new affliction.

In the absence of either one or the other of these two factors, the scene would have been different. In a way, this is what appears to be happening at present, with the BJP losing some of its earlier momentum and the Congress partly recovering its old self under new leadership.

From this aspect, there has been a return to a more or less level playing field with a slight tilt in the BJP’s favour. But the opposition can make good the lost ground if the BJP is foxed by the complexities of a hung parliament.

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Modi’s life makes a good comedy film, says Urmila Matondkar

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Popular actress Urmila Matondkar has joined the Congress party and she is contesting from the Mumbai North Lok Sabha constituency. She is firing on all the BJP leaders in her hectic poll campaign. Urmila’s recent comment on PM Modi has triggered big controversy. What has Modi achieved after becoming PM? He came to power by giving so many promises but did nothing to the people.

Urmila asserted that Modi does not deserve a biopic. Instead, a comedy film should be made to expose how Modi has misled the voters with his false promises and utter lies. Her comments angered the BJP leaders in Mumbai and they are making determined efforts to defeat her.

Urmila’s fans are thrilled at the wide attention the Rangeela star is getting in politics as well. Seeing the film glamour potential, the Congress is using Urmila’s services effectively to counter the BJP. In just a month, she could get ticket and campaign hard to woo voters. To catch public attention, she is mixing with people and even played cricket with them.

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TRS may face revolt as Car is overloaded: Congress

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Hyderabad: Congress leaders Mallu Ravi has made a forecast on TRS fate after Lok Sabha election results. He said that TRS may face revolt soon after the MP poll results.

“TRS is wooing leaders and cadres from other parties including Congress. Now, the car is overloaded and its tyres may burst any time. Another major reason for revolt in TRS will be unexpected positive results for Congress in the just concluded Lok Sabha polls in Telangana,” maintained Ravi.

On the other hand, TRS supremo K Chandrashekhar Rao is acting like a dictator for Telangana and people started hating this attitude, said senior Congress leaders. This will turn the state into our favour and Congress will rule Telangana in the next term, they hoped.

The Goebbels-type propaganda by KCR and his son KTR has created irritation and made people to lost trust in the pink party, further added the Congress leaders.

“Telanganites realised that voting for TRS was nothing but voting for BJP. So, they voted for Congress in the Lok Sabha elections as people fed up with Narendra Modi-led NDA government. What had been done by the TRS party with 14 MPs in its fold for the past five years. All the TRS MPs supported the Modi and did nothing for Telangana,” said Congress.

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Congress hopes to win 10 MP seats in Telangana; BJP forecasts washout of Congress

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Hyderabad: Telangana Congress party has exerted confidence of bagging 10 MP seats out of the 17 Lok Sabha constituencies in Telangana while criticising the Election Commission (EC) for not providing facilities at the polling stations. Telangana Lok Sabha elections recorded about 60 per cent voting turnout this time.

“We’re confident of winning 10 MP seats in Telangana. The Election Commission has supported the TRS totally. Farmers and Congress party demanded ballot paper in Nizamabad Lok Sabha constituency as 185 candidates were in the fray. But, the EC ruled out our request and went ahead with electronic voting machines. The polling percentage in Telangana is below average and I attribute the reason to the failure of the EC,” maintained the RC Khuntia, Congress in-charge for Telangana.

On the other hand, BJP-Telangana president Dr K Laxman has predicted that Congress will be washed out from the state after this election.

“Only TRS and BJP will continue to be in action in the Telangana politics. People are positively responding to the call of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah to make Congress-free India. Elections in Telangana were peaceful and I thank all the party cadres of BJP and leaders. What I observe is that polling turnout is higher than Assembly elections and this indicates increased anti-incumbency against the TRS. BJP withdrew money from the bank with all genuine details, but the police department was overreacting to opposition parties in Telangana to impress KCR,” remarked Dr Laxman.

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Lack of star campaigners takes sheen off Congress

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Hyderabad: Senior Congress party leaders including TPCC chief Uttamkumar Reddy are contesting as MP candidates in 17 Lok Sabha constituencies in Telangana, the poll campaign has virtually became an individual effort for each candidate.

For instance, Revanth Reddy is contesting in Malkajgiri Lok Sabha constituency and TPCC chief from Nalgonda and these leaders are unable to find time to campaign for other Congress candidates. Congress party so far didn’t even hold a massive rally or public meeting in any constituency so far. TPCC has sent a request to Rahul Gandhi to visit Telangana again on April 8, but so far no confirmation, said a senior Congress leader.

Rahul Gandhi’s recent visit had failed to evoke expected response. Congress party cadres want Priyanka Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to tour Telangana to boost morale for the party. But, they lack time as they have to take care of pan-India election campaign.

Congress senior leaders Gulam Nabi Azad and Sachin Pilot are visiting Telangana on Sunday to participate in Chevella public meeting in support of Konda Vishveshwar Reddy.

CLP leader Mallu Bhattivikramarka is focusing on Khammam Lok Sabha constituency. Another senior leader V Hanumantha Rao has been confined to few Lok Sabha constituencies only. Telangana Congress campaigning committee chairperson Vijayashanthi only seems to be more active as she participated in roadshows in several Lok Sabha constituencies. Congress party has listed about 40 cinema stars as its campaigners, but so far no one turned active in the election campaign. The cancellation of Rahul Gandhi’s tour schedule and non-confirmation of Priyanka Gandhi’s schedule have disappointed party cadres, remarked a senior Congress leader.

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TRS, Congress at loggerheads on approvals for public meetings

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Hyderabad: At a time when political campaigning peaking, ruling TRS and Congress party are intensifying their fight to get permissions from the Police Department and the Election Commission (EC) for their public meetings, rallies and road shows.

The competition for getting such approvals is more severe than seeking votes in the Lok Sabha elections, scheduled to be held on April 11. With hardly a week to go for elections, both the parties have locked horns over this battle, said a senior Police official. Congress party is keen on organising road shows by Rahul Gandhi in Secunderabad, Nalgonda, Bhongir and Chevella Lok Sabha constituencies.

Congress party is criticising TRS for not practising democratic principles during the election campaign. The grand-old party said that it “couldn’t get permission for public meeting at Manneguda in Vikarabad for Soni Gandhi on April 8. We couldn’t get public meeting of Sonia Gandhiji. Because of Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao’s tour on the same day in Vikarabad. This shows mockery side of TRS party.”

Congess party couldn’t get public meeting permission for Konda Vishweshvar Reddy in Chevella. Mega star Chiranjeevi, who’s a relative of Konda family, was scheduled to participate in this public meeting. But, we couldn’t get the required approval, maintained a senior Congress leader.

On the other hand, the Police department cites the reason of law and order as they don’t want public meetings of TRS and Congress on same day in the same constituency.

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Why TRS didn’t allocate 12% for Muslims in elections, question Congress, CPI

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Hyderabad: As Communist Party of India (CPI) extended its support to Konda Vishweshwar Reddy, who is contesting on Congress ticket in Chevella Parliamentary seat, the grand-old party has decided to highlight the pending minority issues. Both the CPI leaders agreed upon extending complete support of CPI to Konda Vishweshwar Reddy in Chevella, they will appeal to their cadre to work for him and ensure his victory. Pointing to TRS supremo K Chandrashekhara Rao’s promise of 12 per cent reservations to minorities, both the parties raise a question why TRS didn’t allocate two MP seats for Muslims accordingly.

Konda Vishweshwar Reddy met with Chada Venkat Reddy, CPI State Secretary, and Aziz Pasha, former Rajya Sabha MP of CPI, at the CPI office, to discuss poll campaign plan.

Konda Vishweshwar Reddy said: “CPI has promised to extend its wholehearted support and we will henceforth work together on issues related to minorities, especially the ones plaguing them. Neither CPI nor Congress believe in deceptive announcements like 12 per cent reservation for minorities. We will focus on issues and measures which genuinely benefit minorities and not mere eyewash announcements to corner their votes. In this election, the support of minorities for Congress is a necessity.”

Aziz Pasha said that “I have one simple question for KCR, 12 per cent reservation for minorities is pending in Delhi with Modi, but look at your own action, out of the 16 Parliament constituencies you are contesting, at the rate of 12 per cent you should have allocated two seats to minorities or at least one seat, this is within your purview and you are not in a position to implement. This clearly indicates to public your real intentions, such dual speak of yours is not good. Communist parties are the flag bearers of secularism and we will support such candidates who work strongly for secularism.”

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Facebook kills 687 fake accounts linked to Congress

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In a startling revelation ahead of the general elections, Facebook on Monday announced it has removed 687 spam Facebook Pages and accounts connected to individuals associated with the Congress party’s IT cell.

The individuals engaging in this coordinated inauthentic behaviour used fake accounts and joined various Groups to disseminate their content and increase engagement on their own Pages, said Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook.

“The Page admins and account owners typically posted about local news and political issues, including topics like the upcoming elections, candidates’ views, the INC (Indian National Congress) and criticism of political opponents including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“While the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our review found that it was connected to individuals associated with an INC IT Cell,” Gleicher said in a telephonic conversation from Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California.

“The majority of these accounts had already been suspended by our automated systems,” Gleicher added.

Facebook discovered the coordinated inauthentic behaviour in February this year.

The social media giant also discovered spam activities carried out by an Indian IT firm — Silver Touch which runs the pro-BJP page “The India Eye”.

It removed 15 Pages, Groups and accounts linked to the firm.

“They posted about local news and political events, including topics like the Indian government, the upcoming elections, the BJP and alleged misconduct of political opponents including the INC,” Gleicher said.

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Prime Minister Modi, AICC chief Rahul Gandhi to address in Telangana

Hyderabad: Monday is a busy day for Telangana politics as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi will be addressing at public meetings at different places in Telangana. Modi will take part in a public meeting at LB Stadium campaigning for Lok Sabha candidates in Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Chevella and Malkajgiri constituencies. Modi will arrive Hyderabad in the evening to address the meeting at 5pm.

BJP leaders Bandaru Dattatreya, MLA Raja Singh, Secunderabad Lok Sabha candidate G Kishan Reddy, Ramachandra Rao, Laxman and other leaders are making arrangements for the public meeting and engaged in mobilizing the public in large numbers.

Rahul Gandhi arrived here from Bengaluru by a special flight on Sunday night and will address at Wanaparthy, Huzurnagar and Zahirabad. Rahul Gandhi is expected to announce highlights of Congress party manifesto at Zahirabad meeting.

Rahul Gandhi will reach Zahirabad by gelicopter from Shamshababaad airport to address a public meeting in the afternoon. Telangana Congress in-charge RC Khuntia, TPCC chief Uttamkumar Reddy, CLP leader Mallu Bhattivikramarka, star campaigner Vijayashanti and other senior leaders will accompany Rahul Gandhi at the three public meetings.

BJP leaders are criticizing the under current agreement between TRS and Congress. “BJP is gaining the ground as its vote bank has been enhancing. Congress leaders are indirectly working for TRS because of their business interests and real estate ventures. Telangana people voted for Congress and 19 candidates won as MLAs, but 10 of them defected to TRS. That’s the reason, sincere leaders are leaving Congress. Ponguleti Sudhakar Reddy, Vijayarama Rao and other Congress leaders are joining BJP. Senior leader and former minister DK Aruna and former TRS Lok Sabha floor leader Jithender Reddy have already joined BJP. This is showing the increasing strength of BJP in Telangana,” said Dr K Laxman.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

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