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Boon or Bane: Cong mulls over fielding Meira from Warangal


Congress is in dilemma over the selection of the candidate for Warangal parliamentary byelection.  The signals from 24, Akbar Road, New Delhi indicate that Congress is mulling over fielding former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar as the party’s candidate. But, it is unlikely to go  down well with the T-Congress.  Since Warangal is SC reserved constituency, Congress high command feels,  a national leader like Meira Kumar would give a tough fight to TRS nominee. Many in the party feel that local candidate alone would fare well than  imported Meira Kumar.

Logic behind Meira’s candidature

Party sources say Meira Kumar has many positive points. One, she chaired the Lok Sabha session when the house was debating the AP Reorganization Bill-2014. The argument is that she had ably controlled the house which otherwise would have had Lok Sabha derailed  leading to adjournment. It may be recalled that the bill was passed in unprecedented uproar amid the sprinkling of pepper spray by Congress MP Lagadapati Rajagopal (Vijayawada). The House was locked from outside and live telecast was discontinued. And the Bill was passed. Congress wants to show the high drama as the Meira Kumar’s support for Telangana and Telangana people should also reciprocate the gesture by casting their vote in her favor.  The second reason they are citing is her pedigree. She is the daughter of Babu Jagjivamn Ram, one of the greatest dalit leaders.  In 2014 she contested from Bihar’s Sasaram  and lost.

Some leaders see this as not a wise decision. Fielding local candidate banking on growing anti-incumbency against TRS government would be the right strategy, they say.

“This is not the right time to express gratitude to Meira Kumar. This election is politically very significant for the party as Congress has been fighting against TRS’ corruption. Winning the Warangal seat will enthuse the party cadre to work hard  to win the 2019 elections. The party has to think of fielding a local  candidate who has better chances of winning the seat,” said a senior leader.

However, TPCC working president Bhatti Vikramarkha Mallu told Telugu 360 that no final decision had been taken on the party candidate.

“Election is  too far away. The name of Meira Kumar is media’s speculation. The party will take a decision on the candidate after several rounds of talks in the party,” he said.

As the Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan accepted the resignation of TRS member Kadiam Srihari, who was inducted into T-cabinet, election commission is expected to set the process in motion any time.  Congress is also planning to bring Rahul Gandhi to Warangal next month to address a rally and  to officially launch the election campaign.

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Is Kadiam Another Rajaiah in the Making ?


Deputy Chief Minister Kadiam Srihari’s honeymoon with chief minister KCR appears to be over. The talk in the TRS circles is that he is another ‘Rajaiah’ in the making. Very soon, Srihari either will be eased out or marginalized in the cabinet.

For starters, Dr T Rajaiah is dalit MLA from Station Ghanpur, Warangal district. Earlier he represented same constituency as Congress leader. A vocal leader and a doctor by profession, he quit Congress to join TRS and won the seat. He   was made health minister and deputy chief minister by KCR. But it took exactly six months to fall from the grace of TRS supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao. After a couple warnings, for announcing important decisions about setting up of health university in Warangal,  following serious allegations of corruption in the purchase of 285 ambulances, on January 25, chief minister sacked Rajaiah. And within hours, Kadiam Srihari, another Madiga MP, was inducted into cabinet and named deputy chief minister.

In exactly six months after his swearing-in, Srihari has become a target because of his alleged “danda” (collection spree) in according JNTU affiliations to private engineering colleges. The primary charge against the deputy chief minister is that he colluded with “Andhra” professors in the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University-Hyderabad (JNTU-H) to deny affiliation to Telangana colleges while favoring colleges owned by Andhras.

The Charges against Andhras in JNTU-H

The Andhra clique in JNTU-H denied affiliation to T-Colleges, even though they had fulfilled conditions up to 98 per cent with regard to faculty, labs and equipment. Without physical verification, refusing to take oral presentations, the clique passed favorable orders on their whims. Highly critical of this attitude, KVK Rao, representative of Private Engineering Colleges Association, dared JNTU-H to prove that the 25 engineering colleges which were denied affiliation, had not fulfilled the conditions. According to the complaints against the Andhra lobby in the JNTU-H, the university’s guest house stands witness to the midnight collection drama. “On June 28 midnight a list of 64 colleges was posted in website. The list was removed before 6 AM next morning. The list, its subsequent removal and denial of affiliation to colleges is indicative of charge of danda (collection spree),” said Namaste Telangana, a newspaper owned by chief minister KCRs family.

In fact, the JNTU-H is administered by in-charge vice-chancellor, Sailaja Ramaiyer, an upright officer in state government.

Campaign against Kadiaym

The paper made serious charges against deputy CM without attributing to anybody. It says the guest house danda (collection spree) has been done with full knowledge of deputy chief minister Kadaiam Srihari.

Similarly the deputy chief minister boasted with private engineering collages representatives that he would not pay heed to anybody in the matter of affiliations.

According to the newspaper, one official has been entrusted with the work of helping colleges recommended by T-Congress, while another is made in-charge of ‘collections’.

CM’s paper reported this and CM’s office took cognizance of the report and sought reports from vice-chancellor.

Congress’ reference in the complaints might be pointer to Ramaiyer’s husband D Sridhar Babu, a Congrerss leader and former minister.

The campaign by Namaste Telangana against deputy CM is being seen as the end of the road for Kadiam.

Is there any message in Chief Minister KCR’s announcement that Koppual Eswar (Dalit MLA from Dharmapuri) would be taken into cabinet, given this background?


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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