Category: Andhra Pradesh

After meet, Oppn leaders flag EVM concerns with poll body

Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ashok Gehlot, Abhishek Manu Singhvi of the Congress, TDP’s Chandrababu Naidu, Satish Chandra Misra of the BSP, Sitaram Yechury of the CPI(M), D Raja of the CPI, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal, Derek O’Brien of the TMC, Ramgopal Yadav of the SP, Kanimozhi of the DMK, Manoj Jha (RJD), Majeed Memon (NCP), Devinder Rana (NC) are taking part in the meeting among others

Top opposition leaders met here on Tuesday, ahead of the Lok Sabha poll results on May 23, to discuss the possibility of a non-NDA alliance staking claim to government formation.

They also met the Election Commission (EC) to press for their demand of tallying the paper trail of votes (VVPATs) with the electronic voting machine (EVM) figures.

Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ashok Gehlot, Abhishek Manu Singhvi of the Congress, TDP’s Chandrababu Naidu, Satish Chandra Misra of the BSP, Sitaram Yechury of the CPI(M), D Raja of the CPI, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal, Derek O’Brien of the TMC, Ramgopal Yadav of the SP, Kanimozhi of the DMK, Manoj Jha (RJD), Majeed Memon (NCP), Devinder Rana (NC) are taking part in the meeting among others.

“On VVPATs and the EVM tally, the EC is yet to come out with a procedure in case there is a mismatch. Even if there is one mismatch in the VVPAT samples picked for counting and EVMs, to maintain the integrity of the electoral process, all VVPATs in that Assembly segment must be counted,” Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Yechury said.

Opposition parties turned out in high numbers at the election Commission office on Tuesday with various demands they termed as ‘confidence-building measures’.

Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said: “The Supreme Court has allowed for 5 VVPATs to be tallied. VVPATs be tallied first-up and there should be re-polling if any discrepancy is found. The EC said that they’d decide, they have an open-mind.”

“If he EC disagrees with us, if 75% of vote is before you, how does it matter if VVPATs are counted first? EC hasn’t decided,” he added.

The Election Commission will meet on Wednesday to discuss the issue.

ABN Radhakrishna testing KCR’s patience

Owner of ABN-Andhra Jyothy group Vemuri Radhakrishna is testing the patience of TRS chief and Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao with his ‘anti-Telangana’ campaign in his newspaper and TV channel every day.

KCR is very angry at Radhakrishna for spewing venom on Telangana State and TRS government ever since Telangana Assembly elections in December 2018, when Radhakrishna openly supported TDP-led Mahakutami.

Though KCR wanted to teach a fitting lesson to Radhakrishna soon after assuming charge as CM for second term in December 2018, the ‘elections season’ and model code of conduct prevented him from doing so.

But of late, Radhakrishna has crossed all the limits in exhibiting his ‘anti-Telangana’ stand through his newspaper and channel.

Last week, he wrote about Telangana power sector in doldrums while the fact remains that TRS government has been giving 24×7 quality power to all sectors without any power cuts, when power cuts and power holidays were a routine thing in Undivided AP.

Moreover, the TRS government is the only state in the country to provide 24×7 free power to farmers.

Today, Andhra Jyothy newspaper carried a banner story saying that Telangana State is in deep financial crisis due to huge debts made by TRS government and there are no funds even to pay salaries to employees, let alone paying bills to contractors and implement welfare schemes.

This news angered KCR so much that he directed finance secretary Ramakrishna to convene a press conference, condemn Andhra Jyothy report and tell facts to people as he cannot talk on this issue due to model code of conduct.

Ramakrishna held a press meet in Secretariat today to reveal how Telangana State continues to be No.1 in the country in terms of GDP growth, State Own Tax Revenue Growth, capital expenditure etc and how it’s debt burden is within the FRBM Act limits.

KCR is waiting for model code of conduct to end to deal with Radhakrishna in a stern manner for resorting to malicious campaign against Telangana by distorting facts.

Radhakrishna already faced the ire of KCR when he became CM in 2014. KCR banned ABN Andhra Jyothy channel in Telangana soon after becoming CM but allowed it after two years after Radhakrishna fell on his feet.

Despite this, Radhakrishna seems to have learnt no lessons and continue to indulge in anti-Telangana propaganda to please his ‘boss’ TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu.

But this time, TRS party sources said Radhakrishna will have to face severe consequences as KCR is in no mood to spare him come what may.

Pawar called Jagan? YSRC scotches rumours

Here is yet another piece of rumour in political reporting.

A local English daily from Vijayawada reported that YSR Congress party president Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy had received a call from Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, on behalf of the Congress party, seeking the former’s support to the anti-BJP coalition.

However, Jagan did not pick up the call from Pawar despite repeated attempts.

Apparently, the YSRC chief is not ready to open any channel of communication yet and wants to maintain status quo till the results are out on May 23, the report said.

The same report was picked by some national channels on Tuesday and tried to make it a big breaking news. But none of these channels could get any official quote either from Pawar or from Jagan’s party leaders.

In fact, YSRC official spokesman Ambati Rambabu made it clear on Tuesday that the report was purely hypothetical and speculative and hence, there was nothing to talk about it.

“We shall give clarity on what our role in Delhi would be only after the election results on May 23,” he said.

Though it is true that Jagan wants to keep his options open on the role to be played by his party at the national level till the results are declared, he is not so discourteous to reject calls made by a senior leader like Sharad Pawar.

“He would have definitely answered the call made by Pawar and told him that he would not like to give any commitment till May 23 evening. After all, who knows what would happen after May 23,” a YSRC source said.

Secondly, nobody would expect Sharad Pawar to talk to Jagan while participating in the negotiations with Telugu Desam Party supremo N Chandrababu Naidu.

If the Congress leadership is really keen on taking the support of Jagan, there are other leaders like his family friend K V P Ramachandra Rao and others.

So, all gas in this gossip!

Chandrababu working hard to stay relevant in Delhi

Taking centre stage in national politics, TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu has been holding series of meeting with leaders of various parties to forge a non-BJP coalition at the Centre and all his efforts appear to be aimed at making himself relevant in Delhi.

He held talks with leaders that included United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia, Congress President Rahul Gandhi in Delhi on Saturday and Sunday.

He also flew to Lucknow to meet Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati and her alliance partner Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav. Back in Delhi on Sunday, he briefed Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi on the meetings with BSP-SP leaders.

Naidu also called on Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) head Sharad Yadav, Communist Party of India (CPI) leader S. Sudhakar Reddy, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechuri and many others.

Even Sunday’s exit polls, which predicted a second term for BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre, could not deter Naidu from embarking on another round of meetings.

Rubbishing the predictions and exuding confidence of his Telugu Desam Party (TDP) retaining power in Andhra Pradesh and non-BJP parties coming to power at the Centre, he left for Kolkata to meet West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee to discuss the post-poll strategy.

From Kolkata, he arrived in Delhi, where he is expected to hold talks with more leaders over the next two days. “I will continue my efforts till May 23,” declared Naidu.

Since the time he pulled out of the BJP-led NDA last year over the issue of special category status to Andhra Pradesh, Naidu has held talks with various non-BJP parties in order to bring them together in an coalition headed by the Congress.

His efforts hit a pause when parties like the BSP, SP, TMC and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) decided not to have pre-poll alliance with Congress. However, Naidu was back in action as soon as the Lok Sabha polls ended.

Though facing a tough challenge at home from his main rival the YSR Congress Party, the 69-year-old remains confident about his poll prospects. And instead of just confining himself to state politics, he is trying to play a key role at the Centre.

TDP leader Khambampati Rammohan Rao believes it is Naidu’s urge to serve the nation that gives him the confidence to pursue his efforts.

“He is doing all this in national interest. The need of the hour is to bring a change at the Centre,” Rao told IANS.

Rao pointed out that Naidu earlier proved his skills as a national leader in 1996-1998, when he cobbled up the United Front (UF), a coalition of 13 parties which then ruled at the Centre. As the convenor of the UF, Naidu played a key role in making H.D. Deve Gowda and later I.K. Gujral the prime ministers.

The TDP leader also recalled how Naidu played a vital role in the candidature of A.P. Abdul Kalam as the President of India in 2002.

Expressing confidence in Naidu’s skills, he said: “We feel he will bring many parties on the anti-NDA platform.”

Political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy, however, felt that Naidu was putting in all the hard work only to stay relevant in the national politics.

“Whether Naidu wins or loses elections in his state, his next destination is Delhi. He has to be relevant in national politics irrespective of the result in Andhra Pradesh,” Reddy told IANS.

According to the analyst, if Naidu loses the polls in Andhra Pradesh, he may not sit as leader of the opposition in the Assembly, where Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy is sitting as the chief minister.

“In such a scenario, Naidu may make his son Lokesh or some other TDP leader the leader of opposition and do his politics from Delhi,” said Reddy.

He said that even if Naidu retained power in Andhra Pradesh, he needed support from whoever came to power at the Centre.

“The state will need all the support from Delhi to implement his poll promises and execute ongoing projects like Polavaram and construction of state capital,” the analyst said.

He believes if the NDA falls short of numbers, Naidu may even extend support to it. “If Modi forms the government again at the Centre and Naidu retains power in Andhra, the latter may join hands with the NDA even if it needs no support because he needs handholding by Delhi to run the state,” Reddy said.

 

No invite to KCR, Jagan for Sonia’s meet?

The Congress party has made it clear that no invitation was extended to Telangana Rashtra Samithi president K Chandrasekhar Rao and YSR Congress party president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy for the meeting of anti-Bharatiya Janata Party leaders called by former Congress president and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on May 23.

Senior Congress leader and AICC general secretary Ahmed Patel confirmed that Sonia had indeed written letters to all the like-minded parties, including Telugu Desam Party, to discuss the post-poll strategy on May 23 night.

However, he denied the reports that appeared in a section of media that Sonia had written letters also to the TRS and YSRC presidents requesting them to attend the meeting.

“As of now, only those parties which have been meeting regularly were invited to the meeting. We shall take a call later on the other parties,” he said.

While the Congress has been a bitter enemy of the TRS in Telangana, the Telugu Desam Party has fought a bitter battle with the YSRC in the recent assembly elections.

Moreover, the Congress leadership is not happy with the attempts of KCR to split the pro-Congress alliance partners in the name of federal front.

“For now, the Congress wants to adopt a wait and watch policy on the TRS and YSRC, which are believed to be closer to the NDA.

“If the Congress coalition can muster enough strength without depending on these two parties, it will not entertain them.

“But if the Congress badly needs the support of the TRS and YSRC, it will change the strategy later,” a party source said.

The Congress knows if it ropes KCR and YSRC into the coalition, it would mean the party has lost hopes of recovering in the Telugu states.

AP techie & US hacker steal 6 cr from B’luru firm

A 25-year-old senior process consultant allegedly colluded with a US-based hacker and executed a Rs 6-crore fraud at a leading business process management company in Bengaluru.

Ramesh Kamaiah, a resident of Hongasandra and from Andhra Pradesh’s Chigathurpi in Anantapur district, has been arrested and remanded in police custody till May 20.

He was employed with Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS), formerly HTMT Global.

His US aide, Noah Lamb, has been named as an accused in the FIR but is absconding.

Police said this is one of the biggest insider frauds in Bengaluru’s ITeS (information technology-enabled services) sector in recent times.

HGS associate vice-president Madhusudhan DS, in a complaint to police, said the fraud was brought to their attention by a US healthcare client which noticed anomalies in the account payment process.

 

Naidu to meet Rahul, Mayawati, Akhilesh today

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N. Chandrababu Naidu is expected to meet Uttar Pradesh’s former Chief Ministers Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow on Saturday evening.

TDP sources said that Naidu, who arrived in Delhi on Friday, will also meet Congress President Rahul Gandhi here before Saturday noon.

Naidu will leave from Delhi to Lucknow around 2.45 p.m. and is expected to meet Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati and Samajwadi chief Akhilesh Yadav after attending a programme in Lucknow around 3.45 p.m., the party source told IANS.

Naidu will return to Andhra Pradesh from a special aircraft around 7 p.m., the source said.

The TDP chief met the Election Commission on Friday and accused it of being pro-government and demanded action against Bharatiya Janata Party’s Bhopal candidate Pragya Thakur for “insulting” Mahatma Gandhi.

The two options before Naidu

There are to options in front of Chandrababu Naidu to protect himself and his associates: One is to retain power in Andhra Pradesh. This is the primary objective.

If the TDP loses in Andhra, there is absolutely no doubt that Chandrababu and his associates are in for big trouble.

YSRCP leaders led by YS Jagan had been subjected to a lot of harassment by the TDP these five years and they will return it in full measure to Chandrababu with ‘interest’.

There is a strong possibility of a CBI inquiry against Chandrababu Naidu and his men if the YSRCP comes to power.

In order to safeguard himself against such possible outcomes, Chandrababu needs to be on good terms with the Centre. This is his second option.

The BJP was never favourably disposed towards the TDP which makes it imperative for Chandrababu that an anti-BJP coalition led by the Congress forms the government.

It is for this reason that Chandrababu has launched a tirade against the BJP and trying his best to ensure that Modi does not come to power again.

If Jagan wins in AP but the Congress comes to power at the Centre, they can forestall any inquiries against Chandrababu.

If Chandrababu wins in AP and the BJP at the Centre again, once again, there will be no support forthcoming to Andhra Pradesh.

The utopian scenario for Chandrababu is if he wins in Andhra and the Congress at the Centre. Any takers for this line of thought?

Meanwhile, Chandrababu continues his diatribe against Modi on a daily basis ad nauseam. Will his efforts yield any fruit?

Pasupu-Kumkuma

The entire TDP is praying that the ‘Pasupu –Kumkuma’ scheme launched by Chandrababu Naidu that was originally announced on Jan 25, 2019 will tilt the balance in its favour at the polling booth hen counting takes place on the 23rd of this month.

Rs 10,000 will be paid to all eligible women of Self Help Groups and DWACRA and smart phones will also be provided to them. Approximately, 93 lakh women will benefit from this scheme and will cost the State around Rs 9400 crore.

Although the State government does not have the funds, it promised to make the payments by borrowing from Central Agencies.

Chandrababu Naidu cleverly ensured that the payments via cheque were made to the beneficiaries, right on the eve of elections in Andhra Pradesh.

The Party believes that the high percentage of women turning out in large numbers to exercise their franchise till late into the night is an indication that the women voted for them because of this scheme.

With all due respect to the TDP though, it is equally possible that people waited in queues for long periods of time to cast their vote because of the high level of anti-incumbency.

This election has been especially tough for Chandrababu Naidu as he has completely lost credibility.

Whether it be the ‘real estate’ venture called Amaravati, the failed ‘loan waiver’ scheme or his horrifying doublespeak over the SCS issue, he has lost the trust of the people.

Given such a high-level of anti-incumbency, will this one scheme by Chandrababu be enough to catapult him back to power? The TDP thinks so!

Besides, there is no guarantee given his recent track record that Chandrababu will make the payments punctually in future.

The people would also have taken this aspect into consideration which would mean that the women gleefully accepted the payments and then voted for the YSRCP.

In 2014, the TDP needed 6 runs off the last ball and contrary to all expectations; Chandrababu got a top-edge that sailed over fine leg into the stands.

Now, the situation is the same and TDP fans are desperately hoping that Chandrababu will once again clear the field. But miracles don’t occur frequently or else they wouldn’t be called miracles.

The last ball this time can easily be a replica of the IPL final between Chennai and Mumbai with Naidu in yellow representing the defending champs.

But there’s a silver lining for Chandrababu after all. He frequently keeps complaining that he is working so hard for the people that he cannot find even the time to play with his grandson.

Should the TDP lose on May 2, Chandrababu will have all the time in the world to fulfill this desire of his and what’s more, he can also catch up on the episodes of the serial ‘Pasupu Kumkuma’ on Youtube that was aired on Zee Telugu some years ago.

Re-polling in 5 more AP booths on May 19

Five polling booths in Andhra Pradesh will go for re-polling on May 19, when last phase of elections will be held in different parts of the country.

The Election Commission of India on Wednesday issued a communication, calling for re-polling in five polling stations in Chandragiri assembly constituency in Chittoor district.

The re-polling will be held in Kammapalli, N R Kammapalle, Pulivarthipalli, Kothakandriga and Venkatrama Puram villages from 7 am to 6 pm.

The decision to conduct re-polling was taken on the basis of a report submitted by chief electoral officer Gopala Krishna Dwivedi, following complaints from YSR Congress party candidate Chevireddy Bhaskar Reddy, who alleged that a section of voters were not allowed to cast their votes in some villages.

Simultaneously, Telugu Desam Party state unit president Kala Venkat Rao also alleged that there were large scale electoral malpractices during the polling held on April 11.

The EC already conducted re-polling in five other polling stations in three districts of Guntur, Nellore and Prakasam of Andhra Pradesh on May 6.