A gunman opened fire on Friday prayers at a mosque in New Zealand killing many worshippers and forcing the city of Christchurch into lockdown as police launched a massive manhunt. New Zealand Prime Minister has said 40 people have been killed. Four people were also detained in connection with the mass shootings at two mosques
YSR Congress party leader and former Andhra Pradesh Minister Y.S. Vivekananda Reddy died of cardiac arrest on Friday, his family said. He was 68.
Vivekananda, also a former Lok Sabha member, suffered cardiac arrest at his residence in Pulivendula town of Kadapa district.
He was the younger brother of former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy and uncle of YSR Congress party president Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy.
He is survived by wife and a daughter.
He was elected from Kadapa Lok Sabha constituency on Congress party ticket in 1999 and 2004. He was twice elected to Andhra Pradesh Assembly (1989, 1994) from Pulivendula, a family stronghold.
Vivekananda was also elected to Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council in 2009 and served as Agriculture Minister in Kiran Kumar Reddy cabinet.
He remained loyal to Congress when Jaganmohan Reddy raised a banner of revolt against the party for not picking him as the successor of his father and Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy following his death in a helicopter crash in 2009.
Jagan Reddy had alleged that Congress tried to engineer split in the family by making Vivekananda a Minister. The young leader subsequently floated YSR Congress party.
Vivekananda contested 2011 bye-election to Pulivendula constituency against his sister-in-law and Jagan’s mother Y.S. Vijayamma, who contested as YSR Congress candidate and won the seat with a huge majority.
Vivekananda later quit Congress party and joined YSR Congress. He lost elections to the Legislative Council in 2017.
After much dilly-dallying, senior Telugu film comedian Ali finally joined the YSR Congress party in the presence of party president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy at the latter’s Lotus Pond residence in Hyderabad on Monday.
Ali’s entry into the YSRC was no surprise, knowing his inconsistent political stand. But till the other day, he had been giving impression that he would join the Telugu Desam Party, as he had met party president N Chandrababu Naidu only recently and posed for photographs.
But suddenly, Ali decided to take a turn and moved towards YSRC on Monday. What is surprising is that Jagan did not offer him any assembly seat.
“I will not contest the elections, but will work for the party and campaign for it in the elections. People in Andhra want Jagan as the next chief minister,” he said.
He also claimed to be a close follower of late Y S Rajasekhar Reddy and said he was impressed with the padayatra of Jagan.
He said Jagan had given him a commitment, but did not disclose what it was.
“I am confident he would definitely fulfil his commitment,” he said.
Why did Ali suddenly change his stand?
According to sources, Ali had asked Naidu to give him the MLA ticket Guntur (East) assembly seat in the April 11 assembly polls.
Besides, Ali also wanted a strong commitment from Naidu that he would be given a cabinet berth if he was elected. But Naidu reportedly expressed his helplessness in giving the ticket to Ali, as there was a very high competition in Guntur.
On the other hand, Jagan reportedly promised to make him an MLC, if not the MLA, and would take him into the cabinet.
Ali was more convinced with Jagan’s promise and decided to join the YSRC.
In a swift development, YSR Congress party president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy has decided to field prominent businessman and film producer Potluri Vara Prasad as the party candidate from Vijayawada parliamentary constituency in the April 11 general elections.
According to highly placed sources, Potluri, popularly known as PVP, is going to join the YSRC in Hyderabad at 11 am on Wednesday morning.
It is a surprise development for PVP as well, as he has completely given up the hope to get the YSRC ticket for Vijayawada LS seat after making initial attempts.
Reason: another prominent industrialist and Kamma leader Dasari Jai Ramesh joined the YSRC, after resigning from the Telugu Desam Party. Apparently, Jagan has given the assurance to Jai Ramesh on the Vijayawada LS seat.
Apparently, Jagan was looking for a strong Kamma candidate to take on sitting Telugu Desam Party MP Kesineni Nani in the constituency who has developed tremendous hold over it in the last four years.
And Jai Ramesh approached Jagan through Daggubati Venkateshwar Rao who along with his son Hitesh Chenchuram joined the YSRC recently.
However, surveys conducted by the Indian Political Action Committee (IPAC) of political strategist Prashant Kishor, are understood to have revealed that PVP is a better choice than Jai Ramesh because of his non-controversial nature and also a good name in the Vijayawada political circles.
According to the surveys, Jai Ramesh has never been active in politics. Though he was in the TDP, he has been keeping away from party activities and he has lost touch with the people as he has not taken any active participation in any of the agitations. Not many people will acknowledge him.
So, based on the advice of Prashant Kishor team, Jagan decided to replace Jai Ramesh with PVP, who is a better candidate.
It is learnt Jagan also convinced Jai Ramesh to accept his decision. Since he has also decided to field Jai Ramesh’s brother Dasari Balavardhan Rao from Gannavaram assembly seat, there might not be any resistance from Jai Ramesh, party sources said.
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will fall marginally short of a majority in the Lok Sabha but will comfortably form the government with post poll tie-ups.
In the eventuality of no Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance of opposition parties) in Uttar Pradesh, the Narendra Modi-led NDA will walk home with over 300 Lok Sabha seats.
According to the latest State of the Nation opinion poll conducted by CVoter for IANS, the battle in Uttar Pradesh will largely decide the complexion of the next Lok Sabha.
The poll was conducted in the month of March when the Modi government took the bold decision of carrying out aerial strike on Jaish-E-Mohammad (JeM) terror camp in Pakistan, leading to a new wave of nationalism across the country.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is hoping to ride on this wave to drown the opposition and the opinion poll confirms that Prime Minister Modi is leading the race.
The poll has projected that the NDA will get 264 seats while the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) is expected to reach a tally of 141 and all other parties are expected to get 138 seats.
If there is no Mahagathbandhan in Uttar Pradesh, the NDA will get 307 seats and the UPA will settle for 139 and all other parties are expected to get 97.
In terms of seats, the BJP is expected to get 220 seats on its own and the allies are likely to get 44.
If NDA gets into a post poll alliance with parties like YSR Congress, Mizo National Front (MNF), Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS), the NDA tally will go up to 301.
In the UPA camp, the Congress is expected to get 86 and other partners will add up another 55.
If the UPA goes for post-poll alliance with parties like All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), Left Democratic Front (LDF), MGB (Mahagathbandhan in UP), Trinamool Congress (TMC), its tally will go up to 226.
The BJP’s tally in Uttar Pradesh is likely to come down to 29 from 71 if it is pitched against a Mahagathbandhan. If there is no such grand alliance, then the BJP is expected to match its 2014 performance and get 72 seats.
The BJP is expected to make major chunk of seats from Bihar (36, up from 22 in 2014), Gujarat (24, two down from all 26 seats in the state bagged by the BJP), Karnataka (16, one down from 2014), Madhya Pradesh (24, two down from 26 won last time), Maharashtra (36, 13 more than 23 won in 2014), Odisha (12, against only 1 last time) and Rajasthan (20, four down from 2014).
The Congress will improve its 2014 tally of 44 by getting most of the seats from Assam (7, up from 3 in 2014), Chhattisgarh (5 against only 1 in last election), Kerala (14, one more than 2014), Karnataka (9, same as last time), Jharkhand (5, a seat less than last time), Madhya Pradesh (5, against 3 last time), Maharashtra (7, a marginal improvement from 4 in 2014), Punjab (12 against 3 last time), Rajasthan (5, up from nil in 2014), Tamil Nadu (4 against nil last time) and Uttar Pradesh (4, up from 2).
In terms of vote share, the NDA is likely to get 31.1 percent of votes against 30.9 for the UPA. The other parties are likely to get 28 percent.