KCR and the art of killing the Opposition

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Six months after he swept the assembly election, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) is slowly making the opposition Congress bleed, having lured a dozen party MLAs into his Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS). The total strength of the TRS in the assembly has risen from 88 to 103 MLAs since the elections last December.

KCR’s move might seem puzzling because the TRS secured a landslide 88-seat majority in the 119-seat Telangana assembly. The answer perhaps lies in the emphatic verdict itself. KCR hopes for a total wipeout of rival political parties. The TRS has orchestrated the decimation of the opposition in the assembly by gradually whittling away two-thirds of the 18-member Congress Legislature Party.

Not only has the Congress been deprived of status as the recognised Opposition, it has just six MLAs-one less than the second largest party and TRS ally, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM). The total number of opposition MLAs in the assembly is now in single digits-six of the Congress, one each from the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the BJP, with one vacant.

The politically astute KCR served as transport minister in N Chandrababu Naidu’s cabinet in 1996 and was deputy speaker in 2001 before quitting the TDP to set up the TRS. The party was built on the grievance that Andhra Pradesh was discriminating against its Telangana region. KCR won the 2014 election soon after the formation and now plans to tighten his grip on the state.

Earlier this year, he is thought to have nursed dreams of becoming prime minister or at least a deputy PM in the event of a hung Parliament, hence KCR’s efforts to form of a federal front without the BJP or the Congress. Within Telangana, KCR welcomed defecting Congress MLAs to dampen the Grand Old Party’s morale and boost his clout and hold a bargaining chip in case of a hung Parliament.

KCR had hoped to repeat his assembly poll sweep in the Lok Sabha election, but was shocked when the BJP won four parliamentary seats, the Congress three, his party only nine and the AIMM one seat. With an emphatic NDA victory shattering his Delhi dreams, KCR’s plan for regional domination continues. He hopes bleeding the Congress will help him in cabinet expansion as well as in leadership succession plans. He wants to ready the pitch for his son and TRS working president KT Rama Rao (KTR) to step into his shoes in government, against the backdrop of a perceived threat from KCR’s nephew and former irrigation minister T Harish Rao.

KCR perceives the Congress, which has a strong cadre base across the state, as a potential threat and wants to crush the prospects of its resurgence. Soon after sweeping the assembly poll in December, the TRS managed to lure four Congress members from the legislative council. The Congress now has only one MLC to the TRS’s 32 in the 40-member legislative council. KCR is eyeing three more seats in the byelections to be held soon.

Dominance in the assembly will help KCR implement whatever he wishes without much protest, given the strength of the opposition. The increased strength in the assembly also helps get TRS activists elected to all seats falling vacant in the biennial elections from the state to the Rajya Sabha until such time the BJP is able improve its strength.

Finally, albeit indirectly, marginalising the Congress can possibly accrue to the advantage of the BJP in emerging as the principal opposition party in the state. In turn, it can lead to better bonding between the TRS and the BJP, helping get what the state reckons as its rightful share of central government-administered resources.

Both the Congress and the BJP are understandably furious. “KCR has a penchant to stifle dissent and the opposition because he cannot tolerate any criticism,” alleges Uttam Reddy, president, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee. “He did this earlier too, after the 2014 assembly election, when the TRS won just 63 of the 119 seats. He managed to get 25 other MLAs to align with his party for purposes of patronage.”

Reddy also alleges abuse of power by KCR. “He does not transact official business at the state secretariat. Perhaps he does not want to go the assembly too and wants to govern the state with brute majority from his farmhouse,” he says. “The man who promised to make a Dalit the state chief minister before the 2014 election is not even prepared to see a Dalit leader of the opposition in the assembly, having already deprived a Muslim from being the leader of the opposition in the legislative council.”

The BJP won four Lok Sabha seats as against three by the Congress. G Kishen Reddy, the BJP’s Secunderabad MP, was appointed minister of state for home affairs. “The BJP will liberate the state from the clutches of the Kalvakuntla (KCR) family. The brutal attack and killing one of our workers in Mahabubnagar district exposes the intolerance of KCR. It is the beginning of his downfall,” says state BJP president K Laxman.

Importing talent, fuelling change: Centre for lateral hiring in babu cadre

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The central government is planning to recruit outside experts at the level of Deputy Secretary and Director to bring efficiency and expertise in the administration. This is in line with the government’s policy to make lateral hiring at Joint Secretary positions, The Indian Express reported.

The Department of Personnel and Training has been asked to draft a formal proposal for recruiting around 400 subject experts from outside to occupy Director/DS posts in the Central Staffing scheme.

This indicates that more than 60 per cent of 650 posts meant for civil servants from the all-india services and 37 participating services would be taken over by people from outside the system.

This is separate from 650 posts reserved for promotees from the Central Secretariat Service. They, however, come under the ambit of Central Secretariat Service Rules, 2009 and thus, can’t be touched upon as that would require an amendment.

NITI Aayog is also planning to fill 54 of 516 posts laterally. These posts are recognised as “flexi-pool posts” for which the government think tank used to hire consultants.

In a major shift, it will now hire individuals who will have the same rank, status, responsibilities and accountability as regular civil servants.

Last year, Union Public Service Commission hired nine officials at Joint Secretary level. More than 6,000 applications were received for 10 posts.

One significant aspect of administrative reforms has been inducting subject experts at senior levels to inject strategic thinking into the bureaucracy.

Presently, the joint secretaries — who form the strength of the administration — are sourced mainly from Indian Administrative Service cadre officers.

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Trivikram Is A Theater Owner Now

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Star director Trivikram is one of the highest paid directors in Telugu Film Industry now. He gets around Rs. 15 cr per movie which includes profits share in Haarika Hassine Creations.

Trivikram not only makes one movie per year but also invest his earnings in real estate.

Trivikram has lot of properties in and around Hyderabad, Vizag and Vijayawada. Now he has ventured into movie exhibition business too.

Trivikram has reportedly bought a theater named Rayudu in Rajanagaram, East Godavari.

The Aravindha Sametha director has spent a hefty Rs. 5 crore on this theater that includes renovation expenses.

Vinayak, Teja and a couple of other directors also own theaters in different places.

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First session of new Andhra Pradesh Assembly begins

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The first session of new Andhra Pradesh Assembly began on Wednesday with the newly-elected members taking oath.

Pro tem Speaker C. Appala Naidu sworn in the new minister. Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy was the first to take oath.

Members of the treasury benches greeted Jagan Reddy with thumping of desks as he rose to take the oath. He responded with the folded hands.

Leader of the Opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N. Chandrababu Naidu took the oath after Jagan Reddy.

Naidu and other members of the TDP were clad in yellow, the colour of the party’s flag, while YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) MLAs wore the party scarves.

The swearing-in of members is expected to continue throughout the business hours on Wednesday.

The session will last for five days. The Speaker will be elected on Thursday while Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan will address the House on Friday.

The House will debate the motion of thanks to the Governor for his address on June 17 and 18.

Jagan Reddy led the YSRCP to a landslide victory in the April 11 elections. YSRCP bagged 151 seats in 175-member Assembly. The TDP secured 23 seats while Jana Sena Party of actor Pawan Kalyan got just one seat.

Yamini disowns FB comments against Jagan

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Andhra Pradesh Telugu Desam Party leader and official spokesperson Sadineni Yamini had become very popular in the mainstream as well as social media before the recent general elections with her pungent comments and sharp attacks on the YSR Congress party and other political rivals.

Naturally, Yaminin was under the attack from the YSRC leaders and was particularly a target of the social media workers of the YSRC and also the BJP.

After the election results, there is nothing for Yamini to comment against YSRC, which had received a huge mandate from the people and party president Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy became the chief minister. She has virtually gone into the silent mode.

On Monday, Yamini surfaced again and went to the state police headquarters to meet director general of police Gautam Sawang to lodge a complaint against certain people who allegedly created fake Facebook profile of hers and made abusive comments against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and also Jagan Mohan Reddy.

Apparently, the YSRC leaders have been attacking her following an alleged post made by her on the FB on Jagan’s attempt to touch the feet of Modi at Tirupati. She was heavily trolled by the Jagan fans with abusive comments.

In her complaint to Sawang, Yamini said she was unnecessarily being targeted for the mischief played by someone who created a fake Facebook page of hers and posted objectionable post on Modi and Jagan.

She urged DGP to find out who created this fake FB account and to take serious actions against them.

Shah chairs meeting on internal security; NSA, Home Secy present

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Home Minister Amit Shah held a meeting on internal security at Ministry of Home Affairs in North Block here on Monday.

In the high-level meeting, National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval who was reappointed to the post for five more years and given Cabinet rank in the second term of the NDA government, was also present in the meeting.

On Thursday also Shah had held a high-level meeting on with National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and Home Secretary Rajeev Gauba.

Shortly after taking the charge on June 1, Shah had held a meeting with top officials of the ministry and had discussed a slew of issues related to internal security along with terrorism and Naxalism.

It is worth noting that Kashmir is the focus area for Shah in view of the promises made in the BJP manifesto like abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution.

The Centre’s muscular anti-terror policy pursued in Kashmir is likely to be continued under the new government.

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PM to meet secretaries of all ministries today, likely to outline govt priorities

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called a meeting of all secretaries on Monday, where he is likely to outline priorities of his government, sources said.

Besides about 100 top bureaucrats, a few key ministers are expected to attend the meeting which the sources said will be a freewheeling discussion.

The Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, the Additional Principal Secretary to PM and the Cabinet Secretary will be in attendance alongside the secretaries of all ministries. The meeting is scheduled to be held at 6:30 pm at the Prime Minister’s residence at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg.

During the meeting, Modi is expected to outline the agenda of his government while at the same time he will also take feedback from the top officials, sources said. A similar meeting was held in 2014 after Modi assumed charge as prime minister in his first term. He has been meeting secretaries of various ministries at regular intervals.

In Modi’s previous tenure, the PMO had formed eight group of secretaries on various subjects to suggest reforms in governance. He has also been interacting with various state chief secretaries on a monthly basis.

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KTR, Harish, Sabitha to be inducted in KCR’s cabinet

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TRS chief and Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao is all set to expand his cabinet by June-end.

According to insiders in TRS, KCR has decided to induct his son KT Rama Rao, nephew Harish Rao besides defected MLAs from Congress in his cabinet.

Recently 12 MLAs from Congress defected into TRS and sought merger of CLP with TRSLP in Assembly.

Speaker Pocharam Srinivas Reddy immediately approved this. With this, these 12 Congress MLAs have become TRS MLAs officially.

Out of these 12 Congress MLAs, KCR has reportedly decided to induct Sabitha Indra Reddy and Vanama Venkateshwar Rao into his cabinet.

KCR is already facing the wrath for not taking a single woman minister into his cabinet in his first term from 2014 to 2018 and also in his current second term.

By inducting Sabitha, KCR wants to get rid of this criticism.

Besides, KCR’s cabinet also has no representation from erstwhile Khammam district.

Tummala Nageshwar Rao from Khammam district was a minister in KCR’s first cabinet. But he lost Assembly polls in December 2018.

With this, KCR has decided to take Vanama into his cabinet and give representation to Khammam district.

Interestingly, KCR has been accused of sidelining Harish Rao in his second term.

However, TRS sources said KCR deliberately kept both KTR and Harish out of cabinet as he wants to utilise their services for party activities to face various elections that were held after Assembly polls in December 2018 till recently.

TRS won panchayat elections, Lok Sabha elections and recent zilla parishad elections with a thumping majority.

With KTR and Harish finishing their task of ensuring victory for TRS in all the elections, KCR now wants to induct them into his cabinet and make his government stronger.

However, Harish is unlikely to get his previous irrigation minister portfolio as KCR is keen to hold this portfolio.

Harish is being considered for finance or education portfolio

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Naga Shaurya is the worst

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Actress Samantha Akkineni said doing romantic songs with hero Naga Shaurya is the worst thing.

The making video of ‘Naalo Maimarapu’ song is out and from Samantha to director Nandini Reddy shared the experience.

Samantha said hero Naga Shaurya is very shy person and so it is difficult to do romantic scenes with him.

Then director Nandini Reddy said, “While shooting, Shaurya is used to very far between the shoots and I wonder how this guy became an actor.”

In fact to break the ice between the duo, it was Sam who took the initiative and they spoke about ‘DOGS’ to get along.

‘Oh Baby’ has music of Mickey J Meyer and the first song received a fantastic response earlier.

The second song ‘Naalo Maimarapu’ is schedule for release later in the day.

 

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