Tag: Chandrababu Naidu

YSRC set to wrest power in Andhra with landslide win

Dashing all hopes of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) appeared set to wrest power in Andhra Pradesh with a landslide victory on Thursday.

YSRCP was leading in 145 seats in the state’s 175-member Assembly while the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) was ahead in 28 constituencies.

Actor Pawan Kalyan’s party Jana Sena was leading in two constituencies, according to information available with the Election Commission.

Jagan Mohan Reddy’s party was racing ahead across the state from the time the initial trends started emerging.

YSRCP also appeared to be making a clean sweep in the Lok Sabha polls as the party was leading in 24 of the 25 constituencies.

The results came as a huge shock to TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu, who was not only confident of retaining power in the state but was hoping to play the role of kingmaker at the Centre.

In 2014, the TDP had bagged 102 seats while its then ally BJP had won four seats. The YSRCP had won 67 seats while two independents were also elected.

In the Lok Sabha elections held simultaneously, the TDP had won 15 and the BJP two seats. The YSRCP bagged the remaining eight seats.

The trends so far show that BJP and Congress are not leading in any of the Assembly or Lok Sabha seat. No change in fortune is expected for Congress, which drew a blank in the simultaneous polls in 2014.

Naidu makes issue out of non-issue

The people’s verdict in the recently concluded general elections has been sealed in the electronic voting machines and it will come out on May 23, when the votes are counted.

The Supreme Court has ruled that it is not possible to count slips of all the Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail and ordered that the EC could count slips of five randomly selected VVPAT machines per each constituency and compare them with the EVMs.

If there is any difference in the EVM votes and VVPAT slips, then the slips would be taken into account. The issue could have been settled with the SC verdict.

Yet, Telugu Desam Party president and Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu is making a big issue out of a virtual non-issue.

He raked up a new issue before the Election Commission on Tuesday, stating that the verification of VVPAT slips of randomly identified five polling stations should be done prior to the initiation of counting of votes and not after the completion of last round of counting.

He submitted a memorandum to this effect to the EC along with 22 opposition party leaders.

He demanded that if any discrepancy was found anywhere during the VVPAT verification, 100 per cent counting of paper slips of VVPATs of all polling stations of that assembly segment should be done.

“We are asking the Election Commission to respect the mandate of people. It cannot be manipulated,” he said, and claimed that even the former Chief Election Commissioners has endorsed their demand.

Now, with Naidu raking up fresh litigation, the EC is in a dilemma.

“We shall take a call on this shortly,” the EC told him.

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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.

 

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.

Will KCR, Jagan attend Sonia meeting

A report that appeared in a popular English daily that former Congress president and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi had invited Telugu Desam Party, YSR Congress party and Telangana Rashtra Samiti along with other non-BJP parties for a dinner meeting in New Delhi on May 23 created ripples in political circles.

The meeting was reportedly called for to discuss the possibility of a non-Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre, after watching the results to be declared on May 23.

The report, on the face of it, appears to be purely speculative and far-fetched, as nobody knows what the outcome of the elections would be. If at all Sonia extends any such invitation, she would do it in the afternoon of May 23, when the trends would be clear.

The meeting can be held a day later, not necessarily on the same night.

Secondly, there are inherent contradiction within the report. How can TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu and YSRC president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy will attend the same meeting? For that matter, will KCR attend a meeting in which Naidu is present?

If the Congress admits YSRC and the TRS into the coalition, Naidu will opt of it. And other parties like Mamata or Samajwadi Party might be interested in losing Naidu.

If Congress wants to negotiate with Jagan and KCR, it will do it separately and not when Naidu is present.

In any case, if the reports are true, both TRS and YSRC prefer to join the NDA bandwagon, rather than the Congress, say analysts.

Moreover, 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 and it amounts to admitting that the Congress will play second fiddle to these parties in their respective states!

 

Setback for Naidu in SC once again

In yet another setback for Telugu Desam Party president and Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, the Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a review petition filed by him along with representatives of 20 other parties seeking to count at least 50 per cent of the VVPAT slips along with EVMs during the counting of votes.

Supreme Court took less than a minute to dismiss the review petition, saying it did not want to modify the earlier order.

Naidu went to New Delhi to personally attend the court to give an impression to the people that he is fighting for democratic rights of the people for having a free and fair election.

Naidu and other opposition leaders filed a review petition after Election Commission of India has turned down the request of them on the counting of 50 per cent VVPAT slips along with EVMs.

The court directed that only 5 VVPAT slips counting in each assembly segment could be allowed for sample verification.

The EC had argued that results of the Lok Sabha election could be delayed by five days if 50 per cent VVPATs in every Assembly segment was counted.

Opposition leaders led by Naidu told the court that “Increase of VVPATs counting from 1 to 5 is not a reasonable number and does not lead to satisfaction desired by this court” and that the court should review its order.

After the Supreme Court’s order, too, Naidu did not change his satand. He said all the 21 opposition parties would meet the Election Commission India again on VVPATs counting.

“We will not give up but will continue our movement to bring transparency in the Indian election system,” he said.

He reminded that when the ballot was in force it took only 24 hours for counting of ballots.

“How EC can say that it will take 6 days for counting of VVPAT slips when the ballot took only 24 hours? Where is transparency?”

He pointed out that in Bihar, 6 EVMs were found in a hotel and the EC has brought Rs.9 thousand crores to bring VVPATs and still people have doubts on EVMs.

Officials likely to skip Naidu Cabinet meet

Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu well may land in an embarrassing situation if government officials do not attend the cabinet meeting that he intends to hold if the Election Commission (EC) doesn’t grant them permission to be there.

In that case, Naidu will have to hold the meeting only with his cabinet colleagues sans officials.

As per rule position, the Chief Secretary (CS) needs to circulate a note to all the officials to be ready with relevant information and to attend the cabinet meeting after the information from the chief minister’s office comes to him on holding the cabinet meeting.

Senior bureaucrats in the government pointed out that since the election code was in effect in the state, the chief secretary may seek the advice of the EC whether to attend the meeting and also whether to circulate the note or not.

If the EC does allow the CS to circulate the note, then the officials will attend otherwise they will not.

Mr Naidu who was visibly miffed with the chief secretary L.V. Subramanyam for not attending his review meeting on  super cyclone Fani preparedness had said that he would hold a cabinet meeting and talk to the officials indirectly hinting at taking the CS to task for violating business rules.

Mr Naidu is of the opinion that while the Chief Minister and his cabinet was supreme, the chief secretary was only a facilitator and had to attend his review meetings when necessary.

“In this case, the CS may seek advice from the EC whether to attend and circulate the note. If the EC agrees then fine, otherwise it will be only ministers who will take part in the cabinet meeting,” a retired senior bureaucrat told this correspondent.

When the retired bureaucrat was told about the Chief Minister pointing at the cabinet meetings that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been heading even after the poll code came to effect, he said it was not clear if the Centre had sought the EC’s permission or not and whether a permission was accorded or not.

Modi kicks up AP bifurcation row again

Andhra Pradesh is still licking the bifurcation wounds even now, though it is nearly five years since the combined state has been divided to carve out Telangana.

During the days of movement for Telangana state, the Andhra leaders used to make serious comments against bifurcation.

During the 2009 assembly elections, then chief minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy went to the extent of cautioning the people of Andhra and Rayalaseema that if the state was bifurcated, they might have to take passport to go to Hyderabad.

Such was the animosity among the Seemandhra leaders towards Telangana that they used to project the bifurcation of the combined state with the division of the country and Telangana was like another Pakistan for them.

Now that the state was divided five years ago and both the states are in the path of development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has raked up the old wounds by comparing the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh with the division of the country.

Addressing a rally at Ramnagar in Bihar, Modi has dragged the issue of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

He alleged that those who want to split the nation had bifurcated AP. His words indicated that bifurcation of AP was as good as splitting the nation.

He said even after the bifurcation, both the states were fighting with each other. The people of both states were not able to see each other’s faces although both speak the same language Telugu.

“Even after five years of bifurcation, there is no bond between the Telugu states,” Modi said.

This is silly on the part of Modi to make such comments, as both the states are in perfect coordination with each other. In fact, there is a healthy competition between the two.

Only political leaders like TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu and TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao are slinging mud at each other for their selfish political gains. Nothing more, nothing less.

By raking up such unnecessary controversies, the Prime Minister is only creating animosity among the people.

In any case, Modi has no place in Andhra and Telangana, so, nobody would take him seriously.

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KCR’s dubious achievement: Defections Telangana

In 2014, TRS came to power and KCR became first Chief Minister of newly created Telangana State with the slogan and promise of achieving “Bangaru Telangana” (Golden Telangana).

Five years down the line, KCR’s Bangaru Telangana still remains a distant dream but he has achieved the dubious distinction of making Telangana into “Defections Telangana”.

Telangana topped the entire country in defection of MLAs since 2014.

In the process, TRS also achieved the distinction of admitting highest number of defected MLAs from other parties.

TRS admitted 27 MLAs from Congress, TDP, YSRCP, BSP and CPI. TRS won just 63 seats out of 119 in 2014 Assembly polls.

However, it’s tally increased to 90 later due to defection of MLAs from other parties.

TRS won recent Assembly polls in December 2018 and came to power for second term.

Within four months of coming to power again, TRS again created a record in the country of admitting highest number of MLAs from other parties.

Already 11 Congress MLAs, 1 TDP MLA and two independent MLAs joined Congress. Few more Congress MLAs and lone TDP MLA are also in the pipeline to join TRS anytime.

Looks like, no one can beat TRS in engineering splits and defections in other parties.

After Telangana, neighbouring state Andhra Pradesh holds the distinction in highest defections.

TDP chief and AP CM N Chandrababu Naidu has admitted 23 MLAs and 3 MPs from YSRCP between 2014 and 2018.

Who’ll be responsible for cyclone damages: AP minister

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With the Election Commission (EC) barring Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu from holding review meetings, a senior cabinet minister on Sunday asked who will be responsible if cyclonic storm ‘Fani’ causes damage to the state.

“Who will be responsible? Chief Secretary? The Election Commission? Or the Modi government?,” asked Finance Minister Y. Ramakrishnudu, referring to reports that ‘Fani’ cyclone in Bay of Bengal may turn ‘very severe’ and head towards the Andhra coast.

The Minister’s comments came two days after Naidu shot off a letter to the EC, indirectly threatening it with legal action to recover the cost overrun of the ongoing projects.

Naidu also sought to blame the EC for the death of seven persons in thunderbolt, saying a review meeting by the Chief Minister could have prevented the deaths.

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief took strong exception to the poll panel preventing him from holding meetings to review the ongoing projects like Polavaram and construction of state capital Amaravati.

Naidu alleged that such restrictions were imposed only in case of Andhra Pradesh as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Ministers in states ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies continued to hold review meetings.

Ramakrishnudu said the Cabinet Secretary was not interfering in any matter but in Andhra Pradesh, Chief Secretary L.V. Subrahmanyam appointed by the EC was interfering in every issue.

He alleged that the EC’s actions posed a threat to the democracy.