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Friday, October 19, 2007

I gave Tendulkar out wrongly against England: Umpire Dar

Mumbai, Oct 19 (IANS) Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar has, for the first time, admitted he gave Sachin Tendulkar out wrongly in the deciding seventh One-Day International against England in London last month.

"Immediately after I gave Tendulkar caught by wicket-keeper Matt Prior off Andrew Flintoff I realised from his reaction that I had given a wrong decision," Dar told IANS in an interview here.

Tendulkar, who scored 30 off 46 balls, was visibly stunned and he uncharacteristically stood in his crease for a few seconds, suggesting he had not snicked the ball, before returning to the dressing room.

Batting first, India were reduced to 59 for four with Tendulkar's dismissal and eventually lost the match by seven wickets at Lord's and with it the series 3-4.

Dar, who was here to officiate in the India-Australia One-Day Internationals, said that the mistake had occurred because of a brief lapse in his concentration.

"On that ball Flintoff was very close to bowling a no ball and as I was looking at his foot my concentration was disturbed," said Dar, widely considered one of the best umpires in the world.

Asked if he felt like taking his decision back to enable Tendulkar to continue batting, the 39-year-old member of the International Cricket Council's Elite Panel said that he had never recalled any player.

"Since I had never called any batsman after giving a decision I did not call him back. So, if I were to call Tendulkar I would also call the last man if given wrongly out," reasoned the man from Lahore.

"I knew that match was the decider. And I was upset after giving that decision. It was tough match (for me)," he said, referring to the 3-3 series score before that match.

Dar, however, showed his regret and tried to show his feelings to Tendulkar immediately after the match.

"After the game when players shake hands with the umpires, Tendulkar also shook my hands on the field. As he did that I said to him 'hard luck'," disclosed the affable official, who became the first Asian to officiate in 100 ODIs here Wednesday.

"Players also know that how good an umpire is. They understand that mistakes are not made deliberately and they respect good umpires."

A former first-class player himself, Dar revealed that if he is not satisfied with one of his decisions early in a match it bothers him.

"If I give an erroneous decision early in a match it plays on my mind. But I try not to let that decision affect me for the rest of the match," he said.

Dar, who also officiated the final of the 2007 ODI World Cup, was recently short-listed among the three umpires for the annual ICC's Best Umpire Award, which eventually went to Australian Simon Taufel.

He is thankful to his parents and his wife for their sacrifices to enable him to be away for long periods and concentrate on his job. His work entails him being away from home for seven-eight months a year, which forces him to miss his three young sons.

That is why Dar, who has also officiated in 39 Tests, has decided to quit umpiring at 50, 10 years before the retirement age prescribed by the ICC.

Cricket: 6 Ducks with Highest Score 7

If you are wondering if this is individual player statistics.. You are mistaken.. It's the total team statistics..

WestIndies Under-19 were wrapped up for 18 in match against Barbados with 6 ducks and highest score of 7.

The second highest score is extras (6). The complete batsmen score read 1,0,0,0,0,7,2,0,2,0 and 0 not out.

Barbados player Pedro Collins produced a record spell of 7 for 11.

This created the new lowest score in domestic circuit. The previous record of lowest score was 23, set 23 years ago. (Middlesex Vs Yorkshire,1973).

Well, No prize for guessing who won the match.. Yes..

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Chiranjeevi's Daughter Marriage Video Clip


Chiranjeevi's daughter Srija

Chiranjeevi's Daughter Marriage Video Clip



Indian cricket board is worth nearly Rs.10 bn

Mumbai, Oct 17 (IANS) Irrespective of the national team's performance, the Indian cricket board is getting rich each year and its current total assets stand at a whopping Rs.9.6 billion ($245 million; 120.6 million pounds), thanks largely to its marketing policy and investments by sponsors.

In addition, the Board of Control for Cricket India (BCCI) has made investments worth nearly Rs.7.5 billion ($190 million; 93.5 million pounds) and its 'current assets, loans and advances' stand at almost Rs.2.1 billion ($53 million; 26.2 million pounds), as per its 2006-2007 annual report, a copy of which is with IANS.

Out of its total assets of Rs.9.6 billion, the board has 'fixed assets' of Rs.71 million ($1.8 million; 891,268 pounds) at the end of the 2006-2007 fiscal year. The worth of the fixed assets has shot up from Rs.16.3 million ($416,007; 204,657 pounds) during the previous fiscal year.

BCCI's marketing committee, headed by vice president Lalit Modi, is credited with bringing in most of the money during 2006-2007. Income from grant of media rights alone stood at Rs.3.1 billion ($80 million; 39.3 million pounds).

The BCCI spent Rs.37.5 million ($956,301; 470,459 pounds) on its brand new, all-glass headquarters, 'Cricket Centre', built on the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) land inside the Wankhede Stadium, venue of the seventh India-Australia One-Day International Wednesday. This amount is an additional expenditure during the year and is in "excess of the budget", says the report.

The prominent fixed assets include 'improvements to leasehold premises' worth Rs.26.1 million ($664,299; 326,805 pounds); furniture and fixtures worth Rs.13.9 million ($354,646; 174,470 pounds); 'intellectual rights' under intangible assets worth Rs.3.9 million ($99,390; 48,896 pounds); office equipment worth Rs.8.5 million ($217,685; 107,091 pounds); air conditioners, refrigerators and water coolers worth Rs.7 million ($179,453; 88,283 pounds); 'buildings' representing the National Cricket Academy Indoor School constructed on land owned by the Karnataka State Cricket Association in Bangalore, worth Rs.3.7 million ($95,229; 46,848 pounds) and trophy replicas and cricket memorabilia worth Rs.1 million ($26,413; 12,994 pounds).

Fact Sheet: KCR desperate for mid-term polls

Inspite of the categorical declaration by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that there would be no question of any mid-term elections to Lok Sabha, Telangana Rashtra Samithi president K Chandrasekhar Rao still believes that there will be mid-term elections.

It looks like KCR desperately wants mid-term elections to be held right now and that there would be coalition government at the centre once again. He is of the fond hope that the TRS would get a minimum of 12 Lok Sabha seats this time. Since the Left parties would not be part of the UPA government this time, because of the nuclear deal, the UPA would have to depend on the other friendly parties. The TRS would, thus, play a crucial role in making or breaking the UPA government. Since the TRS would get 12 Lok Sabha seats, it would be in a strong position to bargain for separate Telangana State , which would be a pre-condition for joining the UPA government. And there would be no choice for Sonia but to accede the Telangana State .

Well, all this appears to be hypothetical, but KCR is visualizing such a scene. The more the elections are delayed, the less will be the chances of the Congress getting consolidated and it might not need the TRS support much. The situation, then, would come back to square one for KCR!!

I am a problem for YSR, says Babu

What is the biggest problem for chief minister YS Rajasekher Reddy? Former chief minister and Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu says he is the biggest problem for YSR.

"The chief minister does not utter a sentence without making a reference to me. He is so obsessed with me that he drags me into every conceivable controversy for political mileage. Even thinks of me in his dreams," Chandrababu Naidu observed.

Interacting with reporters at NTR Bhavan in Hyderabad on Tuesday, Chandrababu Naidu, however, said he was not a problem for the chief minister. "It's the other way round. He thinks I am a problem," he added.

Chandrababu Naidu made it clear that he had no personal fight with the Chief Minister. "I am fighting on issues and people's problems. But Rajasekhar Reddy takes it personally and thinks that I am fighing against him. We have nothing personal. I have no problem with him," he pointed out.

Rumors: Babu gets inspiration from Rajnikant

It seems film actor Rajnikant's Shivaji has inspired former chief minister and Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu. Otherwise he will not do a Rajani act ala Shivaji.

Addressing a media conference at NTR Bhavan in Hyderabad on Tuesday, Chandrababu Naidu declared that Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy and his son YS Jaganmohan Reddy had floated a firm in Maritius and purchased shares of an Indian company through the Maritius firm to convert the allegedly ill-gotten money into legal assets.

Rajanikant exactly does this in his famous film Shivaji. Chandrababu Naidu himself watched the movie along with the film actor. Perhaps he got a cue from the film. So he attributed the money transfer to the chief minister. It is not clear whether the firm had anything to do with the chief minister's family. Even Chandrababu Naidu does not have proof to support his allegation. But since he has been inspired by the Rajani movie, he thinks what he says is true and people will follow him blindly.

Fact Sheet: Of elections and talks with Maoists

Now that the election year is fast approaching, the Congress leaders, particularly the MLAs and MPs in the State are worried about their safety and security, as intelligence reports indicate that the Maoists are stepping up their activities silently in the remote areas.

That is precisely the reason why these Congress leaders from Naxal-infested areas are bringing pressure on the government to reopen the negotiations with Maoists and buy peace before the elections. The attack on former Chief Minister N Janardhan Reddy has triggered a lot of panic among the ruling party MLAs and MPs. Succumbing to their pressures, Information Minister from Nellore Anam Ramnarayan Reddy declared that the government's doors were always open for discussions with the Maoists and appealed to them to join the mainstream and cooperate for the development of the state.

The Congress MLAs are primarily worried that they would not be in a position to tour the interiors and make election campaign, if the government does not buy peace with the Maoists. They would definitely become hard targets for the extremists. But, who will bell the cat?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fact Sheet: Hard choice before voters in 2009

It seems voters in Andhra Pradesh are in for really tough time choosing candidates during the May 2009 Assembly elections. Even small political parties have come out with a plethora of promises. The big political parties have promised everything that's possible under the blue sky. With still 18 months left for the polls, these political parties may come out with a few more promises, of course with some twists to the already made promises. This will be so because hardly any new political promise is left for these parties to announce.

An average voter will now have before him at least a dozen important promises and half a dozen political parties to choose from. He may be confused since all these political parties are making their promises appear genuine. Only the intelligent and discerning voters will be able to judge between these political parties to choose the right party and the right candidate.

Since our politicians want confusion to be created in the mind of voter so that they could benefit from the confusion, it's really going to be a hard time for the sincere voter when he or she enters the polling booth to excercise the adult franchise.

In-charge PCC chief asserts position

Till the other day, nobody, except a few old timers in the Congress, was aware who G S Rao was in the party. Now that he has been made in charge president of the Pradesh Congress Committee, he has become a known figure in the political and media circles.

And Rao, too, understood the importance of the post. Though initially he maintained a low profile as he had been doing in the past, he has slowly started asserting himself and his position, after realizing that the Congress high command might take some more time in appointing a regular PCC president. And he also threw his hat in the ring for the full-time post.

So, Rao wants to make hay while sun shines. He is addressing media conferences on a regular basis, attacking Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu and issuing showcause notices to the dissident Congress leaders in the districts. At the same time, he is making "pyravis" in the officials circles in the capacity of PCC president to make a quick buck. Who knows Rao will be richer by a few millions by the time he loses the post to a regular PCC president!

YSR, Babu fight over tax payers' cost

Challenges and counter challenges. Statements and counter statements. Allegations and counter allegations. The fight between Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu has taken an ugly turn. It has finally reached the stage of constituting an official commission to probe into the allegations and counter allegations. So far so good. It provided political entertainment to the common man.

But what about the money component? The commission which is likely to be set up will required at least Rs 1 crore to complete its probe. There will be an office, staff, telephones, vehicles and all the paraphernalia. Then there is the salary component. It takes its own time and the more time it takes the more money is spent on the commission.

And where from this money the government will get? Certainly not from Chandrababu Naidu or from Rajasekhar Reddy. The State government itself will bear the cost. And the poor tax payers will have to cough up from their pockets.

Rumors: What does Kavuri outburst signify?

The sudden outburst of Elluru MP Kavuri Sambasiva Rao against the UPA government at the Centre and the Y S Rajasekhara Reddy government in the State for denying adequate support price for paddy has raised many an eyebrow in the Gandhi Bhavan circles on Tuesday.

The party leaders were wondering as to what made Kavuri to use such a harsh language against the UPA government and instigate the farmers against Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh demanding support price of Rs 1,000 per quintal of paddy. Many leaders feel it might be because Kavuri had got an indication from Sonia that he would not be considered for any Cabinet berth in the proposed expansion, for the simple reason that yet another Kamma could not be accommodated in the Cabinet, which already has two people – Renuka Chowdary and Daggubati Purandareshwari – from the same community. So, Kavuri is disappointed.

Secondly, there is a talk that Kamma leaders in the coastal Andhra are consolidating their ranks against Rajasekhar Reddy personally, if not the Congress per se. And Kavuri, who is nurturing grouse against YSR, might be part of the game plan of Kammas to dethrone YSR. But will spitting venom on the UPA government help Kavuri is a question to be answered.

Fact Sheet: Nagender becomes too high handed

Fresh from his newly gained position as the president of Greater Hyderabad City Congress Committee, former MLA Danam Nagender is behaving as he has already become Mayor of Greater Hyderabad and therefore, can do anything.

The Congress leaders in the city are already bearing the brunt of Nagender's highhanded behaviour. He has developed his own coterie around him and is caring a damn for the sincere party workers in the city. Even the police officers are facing nightmarish experience with Nagender, who is raiding the police stations and getting the party workers and anti-social elements released from the custody. His contention is that those who were arrested in various cases are closer to him and they will play a major role in the Congress victory in the GHMC elections. The police are unable to do anything, as Nagender is closer to Chief Minister Dr Y S Rajasekhar Reddy.

Nagender's highhanded behaviour has also become a trouble for Hyderabad brothers – P Janardhan Reddy and M Shashidhar Reddy. Though both of them are MLAs, it is the Nagender's word that prevails in all the offices and police stations in the city. In denying entry for them into the Begumpet airport during President's visit and denial of chair to PJR at the official meeting , Nagender played a big role. In the coming days, Nagender is expected to get more and more prominence, party sources say.

I don't miss Twenty20 cricket: Sourav Ganguly

Mumbai, Oct 16 (IANS) Sourav Ganguly's explosive batting style - which he rediscovered in the Nagpur ODI against Australia - would have made him a successful batsman in Twenty20 cricket, but the former Indian captain says he doesn't miss the newest and fastest version of the game.

"I don't think I miss Twenty20 cricket. I don't know what it would have been if this kind of cricket was introduced during my younger days. But now I don't think I would have really missed it," Ganguly told IANS in an interview here.

Ganguly along with Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid - known as the 'Big 3' of Team India - made themselves unavailable for the Twenty20 World Cup. Their non-availability put wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on the hot seat of captaincy. Dhoni led a bunch of young players to victory at the inaugural world championship of the newest form of cricket in South Africa.

That win gave India some of its future stars, who rose to the occasion when it mattered the most. They beat Pakistan in a nerve biting finish at the final, and the squad is now tipped to be the future of Indian cricket.

"I think this team has all the ingredients to be the world champions. The new guys are really good and they all are talented and will do the country proud in the coming days," said Ganguly, who won the best captain in 75 years of Indian Test cricket award.

Ganguly beat some of the biggest names of Indian cricket like Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, Sunil Gavsakar and the late C.K. Nayudu and late Vinoo Mankad for the prestigious award.

"It is a great honour to be adjudged as the best captain of 75 years of Indian Test cricket. My best success as a captain, I think, will always remain beating Pakistan in their home in 2004," said Ganguly.

India defeated Pakistan for the first time on their soil to win a Test series in March 2004. The series was also memorable because Virender Sehwag became the first Indian to score a triple century with a solid knock of 309.

Ganguly had words of praise for Dhoni and said the 26-year-old should be given more time to click.

"I am sure he will take India to new cricketing heights. The only thing he lacks is experience and he should be given more time to gain it," said Ganguly.

On his role in the Indian team as a senior player, Ganguly said: "The only thing I have to do is to keep on performing. I have to keep on scoring runs.

"Performance and not age should be the criteria for selection in the team," he said.

KCR spreads T-sentiment among tribals

Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) president K Chandrasekhar Rao is making serious efforts to attract the tribals and rope in them into the Telangana movement, so as to garner their votes in the next elections.

Hitherto, KCR did not focus his attention on the tribals in the remote areas to realize his dream of Telangana State. They were neglected by mainstream political parties like the Congress and the TD, who used them only as vote banks. For the first time, the TRS president is trying to spread the Telangana sentiment among the tribals, stating that they would get due justice and political representation only if the Telangana State is formed. His participation in the death anniversary of Tribal Legendary in Jodenghat in Keramaeri mandal on October 26 is being viewed as an attempt to strengthen the TRS base among the tribals who can play role in deciding result of two reserved constituencies and in two general seats and MP seat.

Party sources said KCR would also tour in interior tribal villages in Narnoor, Jainoor, Sirpur (U) and interact with the bereaved families of tribals who died due to malaria, diarrohea and gastroenteritis. He would also planning to pay visit to the Indravelli martyrs memorial on the way to Jodenghat. KCR will participate in public meting in Nirmal on October 25 before participating in the Komuram Bheem's death anniversary in Jodenghat.

Fact Sheet: Babu becomes a farmer for votes

Former chief minister and Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu is spending two days in Godavari sharing the problems of farmers, particularly those growing paddy. The East and the West Godavari districts play a crucial role in Assembly elections and the Telugu Desam had fared badly in both the places in May 2004 elections. These districts were once considered the bastion of the Telugu Desam. Now they are no more TD's citadel. The Congress has taken over the two districts. In a desperate attempt to woo back the voters to the Telugu Desam fold, Chandrababu Naidu took up the cause of paddy growers. He wants a support price of Rs 1000 per quintal to be given to paddy yields on par with wheat.

Though the Congress too took up the paddy issue with the Central government and Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy himself wrote a letter to Prime Minister, the TD leader went a step ahead to spend some time in the paddy fields "sharing" the woes of farmers and promising that he would give them the highest possible support price to paddy.

It's a different matter that Chandrababu Naidu did not pay attention to paddy or any agricultural crop when he was in power for about nine long years. Now that he is in the Opposition, he has realised that agriculture is not a wasteful excercise and helping or pretending to help farmers will fetch votes. It's a key to power and Chandrababu Naidu has realised a bit earlier.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sachin back into top 10 ODI batsmen rankings

DUBAI(ANI): Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar has moved back into the top 10 of the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings for One-Day International (ODI) batsmen. In the latest rankings issued on Monday, Sachin moved up three places to sit at joint 9th, alongside Chris Gayle of the West Indies.

He is the only Indian batsman in the top 10. Vice-captain Yuvraj Singh is at 15th place, while captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni occupies the 16th position.

On the debit side of the ledger, however, former captain Rahul Dravid has slipped seven places and is now lies in 22nd place. India's highest-placed bowler in the relevant table is Harbhajan Singh, down in 29th position.

Australia's Andrew Symonds is within touching distance of top spot in the ODI batsmen rankings.

The powerful right-hander, who bludgeoned a brutal 107 from just 88 balls against India in Nagpur on Sunday, has rocketed up six spots to second place and is now just eight rating points behind his captain and team-mate Ricky Ponting.

That rise is a reflection of his outstanding form during the ongoing series as he is the leading run-scorer from either side with 365 runs at an average of 91.25 and a strike-rate of 110.94 runs per hundred balls.

Symonds, who has reached a career-high tally of rating points, forms an impressive Australian 1-2-3 at the top of the batting table, behind Ponting but ahead of Matthew Hayden, the winner of the ODI Player of the Year award at the ICC Awards in September and the second highest run-getter in the current series.

Three other Australians are in the top 11 - Michael Hussey (5th), Michael Clarke (8th) and Adam Gilchrist (11th).

The news is just as good for Ponting's men in the bowling list with left-arm wrist spinner Brad Hogg breaking into the top 10 on the back of being joint leading wicket-taker (alongside team-mate Mitchell Johnson) in the India series with 11 victims.

Hogg is one of three Australia bowlers in that top 10 with Nathan Bracken (3rd) and Brett Lee (9th) also featuring.

Judicial probe drama irritating public

The challenge and counter-challenges made by Chief Minister Dr Y S Rajasekhar Reddy and Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu on the controversial judicial probe into the wealth amassed by the both since 1978 is becoming more and more farcical.

While declining the demand for a judicial probe only by a sitting judge, YSR has taken advantage of the comment made by the TD president that he was ready to face any inquiry, even if it is an Assembly committee, into the issue of who had built up more assets in the last 30 years. "Having ruled the State for about nine years, Naidu must be definitely aware that the High Court and Supreme Court will not spare a sitting judge to probe into the issues of individuals. Since the TD president himself agreed to face any inquiry, let him accept a judicial probe by a retired High Court judge, if he has any respect towards judicial probes," he observed.

Naidu has no answer, but to save his own skin, he is not accepting the offer, saying only a sitting judge can do an impartial job. And he is demanding the resignation of the Chief Minister, if the inquiry has to be impartial. Since both the demands are not possible, the whole episode is creating an irritation to the people.

This is not the first time that both YSR and Naidu were involved in personal feuds. Since 1999, YSR had filed 11 petitions against Naidu and released 'documentary evidence' on him during the latter's tenure as CM. Now, YSR has turned tables on Naidu by ordering 22 different probes against Naidu's earlier acts of omission and commission. Naidu, on his part, has responded by rushing to the High Court with petitions against YSR on several issues. Apart from court battles, they have made disparaging comments against one another on several occasions. It is time for them to bury the hatchet as none of their predecessors as Chief Ministers or Leaders of Opposition indulged in personal vendetta against each other.

Fact Sheet: Nannapaneni stops her tantrums

Senior Telugu Mahila leader Nannapaneni Rajakumari has finally decided to call it quits. Her highest complaint forum, she decided, was the Raj Bhavan and interestingly not the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

She has blown out of proportions a small issue and attempted to derive maximum political mileage out of it. But she soon realised that it is bringing her ill repute and so she decided to stop it once and for all. First she approached the Hyderabad city police commissioner, then she approached the State Human Rights Commission and then she went to the Raj Bhavan to complain against the AP Mahila Congress president and MLC Ganga Bhavani and her followers. She fell in the trap laid by the TD leadership but when things failed to yield the desired result, she stopped from rushing to New Delhi with her complaint to the Prime Minister and the President.

The TD leadership used Rajakumari as a political pawn to settle scores with the Congress but there was no response from the common man. After all who is bothered whether Rajakumari is right or Ganga Bhavani is wrong or vice versa. What matters to the common man is peaceful life and sufficient earning to sustain self and family.

BJP to focus on attacking Chandrababu

Interesting as it might sound, the State unit of Bharatiya Janata Party is planning to concentrate on running down Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu in the coming days, rather than the Congress.

The BJP leaders, who had their executive meeting recently, expressed view that it was Chandrababu Naidu, who was responsible for the sorry state of affairs in the State BJP unit and lack of support to the party in the people. Several leaders felt that the dumping of Telangana issue, just for the sake of Chandrababu Naidu, had cost them heavily in the 2004 elections.

Therefore, the prime target of the State BJP leaders now is Chandrababu Naidu. They are making it a point to start their press conferences with a vitriolic attack on Naidu and his changed policies such as free power to farmers, Rs 2 a kg rice scheme and minority-appeasing policy. More than the Congress leaders, it is the BJP leaders like Vidyasagar Rao and Indrasena Reddy who are exposing Chandrababu. So, it will be a double whammy for Naidu!!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Behind The Scene: YSR engineers split in journalists

The recent High Court judgement quashing the Government Order on allotting housing sites to mediapersons, IAS officers and judges has come as a blessing in disguise for Chief Minister Dr Y S Rajasekhar Reddy.

The High Court ordered that if the government wants to allot house sites to the above sections, it should do it through housing societies, but not through official committees. While it is not a difficult task for the Chief Minister to form housing societies for IAS officers and judicial officers, he has found the judgement an excellent opportunity to engineer a split in the journalist community. There is already a Housing Cooperative Society for journalists, but YSR did not take into confidence while allotting plots to fresh batch of journalists.

Following the latest High Court judgement, the existing jounalists cooperative housing society appealed to the government to continue the process through it. However, YSR did not agree to the proposal, as the society is mostly dominated by journalists from Eenadu. So, he asked the journalists close to him to form another cooperative society through which the plots allotment could be done. This has vertically split the journalists community as pro- and anti-YSR groups. Now, both the groups want to approach the court again. This will delay the plot allotment exercise, which is what YSR wants. A tit for tat for YSR-bashers among the journalists!

Nostalgia: Doubts Raised On Kantha Rao’s Stammering?

This was the news of 1951. Kantha Rao acted in a small role in the film ‘Nirdoshi’. HM Reddy was the producer in that film. He told Kantha Rao not to act in small roles and promised that he would make him hero. But many have expressed doubts on giving hero chance for Kantha Rao saying, “Reddy garu! How can he become hero? He talks with stammering”.

Then Reddy replied, “This is not stage drama. We can edit till we get the output. Kantha Rao has got grace in face. He is disciplined and enthusiastic. He is also energetic. So we have to encourage”.

That’s how Kantha Rao became hero with the film ‘Pratigna’ (1953) and eventually turned folk hero on Telugu screen. This was the first film for Rajanala as villain as well.

YSR breathes easy, Reds disappointed

Chief Minister Dr Y S Rajasekhar Reddy is perhaps the happiest man among all politicians in the State, since Madam Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Dr Manomohan Singh officially announced that there would be no mid-term elections to Lok Sabha and that they were prepared to push the Nuclear deal into the cold storage for the sake of "coalition dharma."

For, he can defer implementation of all his pre-poll sops like Rs 2 a kg rice scheme, announced to woo the voters for the time being. YSR was wondering as to how to implement these schemes since there was no positive response from the Centre on funding them. At the same time, he had the responsibility of ensuring victory for the Congress in the mid-term elections, if they are held. Now that there are no mid-term polls in the near future, YSR can postpone implementation of his promises at a later date and make a fresh announcement just a few months before the next elections to be held as per schedule.

The biggest disappointment is for the Left parties. They thought it would be advantageous for them if the mid-term elections are held. The national leadership of the CPI-M instructed their local leaders to have a tie-up with the Telugu Desam in the mid-term elections and that would have been definitely a serious problem for the Congress. Now, all their hopes are shattered. YSR has heaved a sigh of relief!!

Fact Sheet: Botsa has his mark even in CWC!

Minister for Housing Botsa Satyanarayana is well-known for his manipulating skills and political maneuvering, thanks to his proximity to Chief Minister Dr Y S Rajasekhar Reddy.

Now, it is evident that he has extended his influence to even the Congress high command in New Delhi. Gandhi Bhavan sources say, Botsa played a behind the screen role in securing the membership for Parvatipuram MP Y Kishore Chandra Deo in the prestigious Congress Working Committee, so as to consolidate his position in the district. Though junior to Kishore Chandra Deo in politics, Botsa has managed to gain an upper hand in the district politics, thanks to the rivalry between Kishore and Forest Minister Satrucherla Vijayarama Raju. Relations between Kishore and Satrucharla strained further with the differences erupting in the election of nominated posts which was encashed by Botsa.

So, when Kishore came to the district a couple of days ago, Botsa played a major role in making arrangements for welcoming the new CWC member. The entire town area was bedecked with welcome arches and huge cutouts of Botsa and Kishore. However, the group belonging to Satrucharla abstained from the welcome ceremony.

Venkaiah Naidu to take over TV channel?

Bharatiya Janata Party national vice-president M Venkaiah Naidu is learnt to be evincing interest in entering the electronic media business soon.

According to reliable sources, Venkaiah Naidu is planning to take over the newly launched Telugu channel NTV, originally promoted by Narendranath Chowdary. This channel has a disastrous start with absolutely no professionalism and home work. The TRP ratings were drastically low and many journalists, who joined the channel, deserted it and joined the other channels. It gained the image as a poor cousin of popular TV channel TV9.

Therefore, Chowdary reportedly put up the NTV for sale and Venkaiah Naidu showed interest in taking over. He is contacting his friends in the BJP and also in the media to work out how to transform this channel into a professional one. Hope things work out for him, soon.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Jaipal prefers Miryalguda to Mahbubnagar!

Union Minister for Urban Development S Jaipal Reddy, who prefers to stay in the national capital by maintaining a high profile, has suddenly realised that he is representing a Parliamentary constituency called Miryalguda and that he needs to get elected from there again, if there are mid-term elections.

The feedback he has obtained from his party leaders in Nalgonda, that the people of his constituency are not happy with him, as he hardly attends to their problems. They suggested that it would be better for him to move to his native district Mahbubnagar in the next Lok Sabha elections.

But, Jaipal Reddy knows it would be difficult for him to get elected from Mahbubnagar, because the Telangana sentiment is fast picking up there and the people might not vote for the Congress. Moreover, it would make him antagonise several aspirants in Mahbubnagar, particularly the sitting MP Vithal Rao.

So, he reportedly told his friends that he would contest only from Miryalguda, the safe option. To win back the confidence of his voters, Jaipal Reddy is now coming to the constituency regularly on the weekends, visiting the villages, attending to their problems. He even skipped the Iftar party given by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi and hosted his own Iftar party for the local Muslims in Miryalguda. That is election politics!!

Judicial probe into assets of Reddy, Naidu

Andhra Pradesh chief minister Dr YS Rajashekar Reddy is set to make history by announcing a judicial inquiry into his and his family members’ assets and those of TDP president Mr N Chandrababu Naidu and his family. The official announcement would be made this weekend.

On Monday, Mr Naidu had alleged that Dr Reddy “collects” Rs 1 crore every hour. The next day, Dr Reddy said he was willing to face an inquiry and challenged Mr Naidu to face one himself. On Wednesday, Mr Naidu agreed, but TDP spokesmen insisted on an inquiry by a sitting High Court judge.

Dr Reddy continued discussions for the second day today with such close aides as finance minister Mr K Rosaiah and adviser to government Dr KVP Ramachandra Rao, apart from senior law department officials. Dr Reddy is trying to have an inquiry conducted by a sitting High Court Judge. But law officials told Dr Reddy there is a Supreme Court judgment that sitting judges cannot be spared for any inquiry. Andhra Pradesh High Court over the past 15 years has turned down requests to spare a sitting judge because of work pressure. In the last three-and-a-half years of the Congress government, the High Court turned down two such requests.

“Dr Reddy has decided to order an inquiry. The inquiry will cover assets held by both families in 1978, when they entered politics," a senior aide of Dr Reddy told media.

Meanwhile, senior TDP leader T Devender Goud demanded judicial probe by a sitting judge of Supreme Court or High Court into the assets.

Addressing a press conference here, Goud, a former home minister, sought an all-party meeting to fix the terms of reference for the proposed judicial commission.

Shaking hands is insulting for this Desam leader!

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Nobody knows why Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu has made former minister K Vijayarama Rao as president of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation Telugu Desam unit, but the party activists are highly disappointed with this person.

For, Vijayarama Rao considers himself as a high-profile leader and has never maintained any close relationship with the grassroot party workers. As a result, there is a huge gap between him and the party workers. The other day, a senior leader of the Hyderabad City TD unit, went to meet Vijayarama Rao and had to wait for more than two hours to get the appointment. When Vijayarama Rao came out of his house finally, this leader streched his hand for a shake-hand, but the former did not respond. Apparently felt humiliated, this leader told Vijayarama Rao to learn how to shake hands with the party leaders and workers. "Sir, you are not a police officer now nor are you a minister. You are leading the party in Hyderabad. You should learn shaking hands with the workers, so that they feel intimate to you," he said.

Vijayarama Rao was taken aback and told the leader that he had never shaken hands with anybody, except his superiors in the police department and assured that he would learn this manners.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Fact Sheet: Cong, TD let loose women power

Men politicians have taken a back seat for the time being, or so it appears. For the first time in the history of politics in Hyderabad, women groups have come forward to take on face-to-face in a bid to settle score. There have been wordy duels time and again but physical attacks have been quite rare, almost nil.

On centrestage are two women, ambitious and want to make it big in the political arena of the State. On one side is AP Mahila Congress chief Ganga Bhavani and on the other is the former Telugu Mahila chief Nannapaneni Rajakumari. Rajakumari had been a legislator and now Ganga Bhavani is also a legislator. But both are aiming at still bigger, may be ministership or at least a berth in the Rajya Sabha.

It was just a small issue but Rajakumari unnecessary opened her mouth to dish out foul words against Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy. Apparently with the RS polls just four months away, she wants to please party supremo N Chandrababu Naidu.

On the other hand, Ganga Bhavani led a sort of physical attack on Rajakumari. The TD leader lodged a complaint with the city police commissioner.

so far, so good.

But a leading Telugu daily, known for its Telugu Desam leanings, took advantage of the fight and devoted much space to the event, which otherwise could have been dismissed in a single column. The newspaper apparently wants to present the Congress in a bad image to benefit the Telugu Desam.

Behind The Scene: Babu and his 'welfare' patent

This is the intellectual property rights and patents regime. And former chief minister and Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu, who took pride in being called the chief executive officer of Andhra Pradesh when he was in power, is adept in issues relating to patents and intellectual property rights. Though Chandrababu Naidu is a poor reader, his advisers keep him abreast of latest developments from time to time.

When Chandrababu Naidu comes to know of a new word, he uses it quite often. Perhaps he has a penchant for new words. And the word we are talking about now is patent.

The Telugu Desam leadership claims that it alone had the patent on welfare schemes and no political party in the country had introduced any welfare programme before the birth of the Telugu Desam 25 years ago. It means in other words, India had no welfare programmes from 1947 or earlier till 1983. The Congress leadership, the TD argues, has no right to claim right or patent on welfare schemes. The TD leadership has forgotten that it was the Congress which had declared India a welfare state while framing the Constitution on the country.

Chandrababu Naidu now claims that the Congress is copying his ideas and violating the patent Act by taking up welfare schemes.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

More freebies to voters, this time from Lok Satta!!

Looks like all the political parties want to take the voters for a ride by announcing freebies to attract their votes in the mid-term polls. Not only the main parties -- the Congress and the Telugu Desam, every small or big political party is also in the race to fool the people, without understanding the financial implications of such free schemes.

The so-called idealistic party, Lok Satta, established by former bureacrat Jayaprakash Narayan, is also no exception. It has also promised nine-hour free power supply to farmers, if it comes to power in the State. And realising that he has exhausted all the existing schemes, JP has come out with a new free scheme – providing health care facilities to all people free of cost. He is promising that irrespective of the financial status, all the people would get free medical facilities at all government hospitals. There would be no user charges or paid services.

But the whole problem is whether the people would take Lok Satta so seriously. If JP thinks he can come to power by making false promises, he is certainly in fool's paradise. The people are not beggars after all. All that they want is quality of life, even if it is at a cost. They will give their verdict not on the basis of freebies, but on the credibility and performance of the political parties!!

YSR hits Diwakar Reddy below the belt!

These days, Minister for Panchayat Raj J C Diwakar Reddy is fretting and fuming at Chief Minister Dr Y S Rajasekhar Reddy. Eversince, the Chief Minister came to know that Diwakar Reddy had been running a campaign against him (YSR) among the local body representatives, he had kept an eye on the minister's activities. It has come to his notice that Diwakar Reddy collected huge amounts from the local bodies employees.

So, YSR decided to checkmate Diwakar's plans. As part of this strategy, he has ordered Transport Commissioner Poonam Malakondaiah to curb the illegal transport activities of Diwakar Travels (owned by the minister), apart from the other private transport operators. Everyday, Diwakar Travels runs large number of buses from Hyderabad to different parts of Rayalaseema and Bangalore and with one go, all these bus services came to a grinding halt.

Those who know the past record of the Chief Minister can recall that Diwakar and YSR never used to see eye to eye and they were running their own groups. There were instances of one group attacking the other in Rayalaseema. Diwakar brought out several pamphlets and books against YSR and his family, which provided a lot of fodder for the Telugu Desam later. However, after YSR came to power, he had a patch up with Diwakar. The elimination of Paritala Ravi removed a major hurdle for Diwakar. And in the process of establishing himself as a powerful leader in Anantapur, he once again started questioning the authority of YSR. Indications are that they might fall apart sooner or later.

Hyderabad Buzz: Sexy Middle Aged Ladies!

There was a 30 minute program last night on a TV channel. It was about sexy middle and old aged ladies. The program was rolled on the occasion of Rekha turning 53. The entire program was about what makes Jayasudha, Jayaprada, Sreedevi, Rekha and Hema Malini look younger and beautiful without the signs of old age.

It was said that it is the professional success that makes them look younger and active. It is known fact that these ladies have several disturbances in their personal lives but they keep everything for themselves and still look lively with smiles. Finally the 30 minute program concluded that it is not the power of cosmetics and beauty therapies but only the happiness that makes people look younger. That happiness can be in the form of professional success or personal success. But for heroines the daily routine activities like exercises as per their professional demand is adding fuel for their beauty.

That's true indeed.

YSR's Rs 3-crore ultra modern bus

Andhra CM Y S Rajasekhara Reddy gets himself a bulletproof bus designed by Dilip Chhabria, with high-end communication facilities
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy is trying to make sure that his political journey is literally a smooth one.

A Rs 3-crore ultra modern office-cum-residence on wheels is being created for him by Dilip Chhabria’s DC Designs.

Keeping in mind the terror threats and Naxalites, the bus will be a bulletproof armored vehicle with mine-proof flooring.

The bus will function as a mini office, offering all the facilities of a high-end communication centre with fax, Internet and satellite dish.

Besides, the bus will be equipped with internal communication system. Those operating the bus would be able to view everything around the bus with front, side and rear-view cameras.

That’s not all — the CM would be able to carry out extensive election campaigns, and public contact programmes from this bus.

“It will have a captain’s chair next to the driver’s seat, from where the CM can campaign,” said George Thomas, a senior designer at DC Designs.

Reddy is said to have ordered this bus after taking a look at a similar bus designed by DC Designs for Karnataka MLA Janardhan Reddy.

The bus will have a lift cubicle similar to an elevator — a raised platform in the middle of the bus, with bulletproof glass on three sides, and steel wall on the rear.

The cubicle can be hydraulically lifted to the top of the roof. The CM can even address a public meeting, or a rally from this cubicle.

The guest lounge within the bus has been provided with nine recliner seats and a 42-inch LCD television.

The bus will also have a VIP master bedroom with a pantry, sofa-cum bed, a bathroom and of course, a vacuum toilet.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Fact Sheet: Babu's 'irrigation mission' backfires

Former chief minister and Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu may call off his ongoing "inspection visits" to irrigation projects in the State. So far he has visited two irrigation projects and he is likely to call of the visits after "inspecting" a couple of projects more.

And what is the reason for not visiting all the irrigation projects which are currently under construction? According to Telugu Desam sources, Babu has decided against visiting all the projects for the simple reason that he could not find any major corruption which he could highlight. People have become wiser and they do not want to believe what politicians simply dish out. People now want hard facts and any allegation should be backed by strong documentary evidence. Simple statements alleging that so and so has knocked off such and such amount would not go well with the electorate.

Chandrababu Naidu and his "engineering team" did not come across any documentary evidence except a few procedural lapses. It is not that there was no corruption in the irrigation deal. But one should come out with concrete evidence. In India it is simply impossible to prove charges of corruption. Instead of taking up the exercise in futility, Chandrababu Naidu has been advised by party seniors to concentrate more on strengthening the party leadership and cadre. They do not want him to spend time on things that would not fetch votes in real terms.

Why politicians are averse to Chiranjeevi?

Many people are awaiting the entry of film actor Chiranjeevi into politics. But a few group of people are against his entry. And who are they? None other than our politicians. According to sources, politicians of all political parties do not want Chiranjeevi to enter politics. And many of them do not want to join the Chiranjeevi's party, in case he forms one. The reasons are obvious.

If Chiranjeevi enters into political arena, the political career of many of our politicians, irrespective of their party affiliations, will come to an end. He will take fresh faces into the party and give them tickets, like NTR did when he floated the Telugu Desam in 1982-83.

Secondly, the politicians do not want to join Chiranjeevi even if he invites them for the simple reason that Chiranjeevi will call the shots and they will be reduced to just puppets. And which politician want to take orders from a film star?

Cricket: Tendulkar set for 400th one-dayer

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India superstar Sachin Tendulkar will on Thursday become the second player to feature in 400 one-day internationals.

Tendulkar will open the batting against Australia in the fifth match of the seven-ODI series against Australia, with the tourists leading 2-1.

Meanwhile, uncapped batsman Subramaniam Badrinath, 27, comes into the squad to replace the injured Gautam Gambhir.

He hit a double century for India A against South Africa and said of his chance: "It's a dream come true."

Badrinath added: "Playing for India has been a childhood dream for me and I am delighted that I am close to achieving that now."

Gambhir will miss the rest of the series after sitting out Monday's victory over the world champions.

The toss in Vadodara on Thursday could be absolutely crucial, with no team yet able to post a win when batting second.

Their batsmen had struggled until that triumph in Chandigarh, in which Tendulkar made a battling 79 and Sourav Ganguly weighed in with 41.

Chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar warned last week that senior players' places would come under threat from the likes of Badrinath unless their form improved.

He said of the Tamil Nadu right-hander: "Players like Badrinath are waiting for their chance and you cannot ignore them.

"It's a professional set-up and nobody can take their place for granted."

The squad for the remaining two matches will be decided after Thursday's encounter.

Meanwhile, Sree Santh, India's fast bowler, has admitted he taunted Andrew Symonds after the Australian batsman was dismissed on Monday.

Santh told reporters he used the words: "Hard luck, you're going to lose now" to the Queensland all-rounder, but denied allegations that he had also clapped in his face.

The irony was that the hot-headed Santh had been rested for the encounter, but was in the vicinty of Australia's batsmen as they walked back to the dressing-room.

India have lost just once in five matches in Vadodara, a city in the dry state of Gujarat, and racked up 341-3 in beating West Indies here in January.

The only other player to reach 400 caps in one-dayers is Sanath Jayasuriya, 38, who on Wednesday was playing his 402nd match in Colombo against England.

Ramoji Rao Learning Lessons From Ravi Prakash

Ramaoji Rao's ETV is known for giving no individual recognition for the News Reporters. On the other hand TV 9 Ravi Prakash made it a revolution by giving recognition for many of the reporters and News Readers working with him. There are many celebrities from TV9 right from Kareem, Swapna to Deepti Agarwal and many. But Ramoji with bureaucratic mentality always wished that ETV should sound the names of only his family.

But now looking at the progressive approach of Ravi Prakash, media baron Ramoji is learning to pacify his employees. There is heavy retrenchment in ETV from many weeks. The only reason is less salaries and lack of recognition. To stop that exodus, Ramoji started giving individual recognition for a few reporters and analysts.

So TV9 has indirectly taught a lesson to ETV.

Ramaoji Rao's ETV is known for giving no individual recognition for the News Reporters. On the other hand TV 9 Ravi Prakash made it a revolution by giving recognition for many of the reporters and News Readers working with him. There are many celebrities from TV9 right from Kareem, Swapna to Deepti Agarwal and many. But Ramoji with bureaucratic mentality always wished that ETV should sound the names of only his family.

But now looking at the progressive approach of Ravi Prakash, media baron Ramoji is learning to pacify his employees. There is heavy retrenchment in ETV from many weeks. The only reason is less salaries and lack of recognition. To stop that exodus, Ramoji started giving individual recognition for a few reporters and analysts.

So TV9 has indirectly taught a lesson to ETV.

SV Ranga Rao In Kapu Politics Agenda

An informal get together of some Kapu MLAs was held in Krishna district couple of days ago. They have discussed on various topics to tighten the Kapu unity for coming elections with a taken for granted assumption that Chiranjeevi will enter politics.

Apart from routine aspects in the discussion, the topic of SV Ranga Rao has seen light. Popular film actor of the past, SV Ranga Rao was a kapu and the Kapu leaders proposed to bring bigger glory for this actor by setting up statues and announcing an award on his name that gives bigger prize money than that of NTR Award. Although the proposal appears to be made with loose ends, if we recall what Chiranjeevi said a few months ago, it sounds something relevant. Chiranjeevi, when asked to name his favorite Telugu actor, he said 'SV Ranga Rao'. For that matter, even Kaikala Satyanarayana, another Kapu actor imitates SV Ranga Rao while portraying different roles.

Although SV Ranga Rao's image cannot push Kapu politics, he may get some added glory if Kapus come to power using Chirajeevi's image.

Buzz: Devendar Goud unhappy with Babu?

It seems senior Telugu Desam leader and former home minister T Devendar Goud is not happy with party chief N Chandrababu Naidu over latter's undue haste in announcing populist schemes even while he was busy drafting the party's alternative economic policy.

According to sources, Devendar Goud had confided with his close followers that Babu had rushed through the annoucements. Devendar Goud, as convener of the Telugu Desam's alternative economic policy committee, was expecting Chandrababu Naidu to make announcements only after the panel submits the report. But Chandrababu Naidu wanted to nullify the effect the Devendar Goud committee would have if it comes out with the annoucements. So Chandrababu Naidu wanted to prove that he is the real architect of the economic policy and not Devendar Goud. This was amply clear at the way the TD chief was moving uneasily in his chair while Devendar Goud gave the powerpoint presentation.

All the points Devendar Goud wanted to cover were hijacked by Chandrababu Naidu and this left nothing new for the former home minister to announce in the alternative economic policy.

Drop in farmer suicides boosts Cong morale

Hyderabad: A radical drop in the number of suicides by farmers in 2007 has boosted the morale of the ruling Congress party that has been at the receiving end from its erstwhile poll allies __ the left-wing parties and TRS__ who have accused the state of not coming to the rescue of the farming community.

Though the existing 141 suicides in 2007 too is a cause for worry to the state government, revenue officials said that the state’s policy of supporting agriculture by giving sops to small and marginalised farmers, along with building new infrastructure has started yielding dividends. “This is the most responsive and farmer-friendly government ever in the state. Our chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy has given AP a new face-lift with rural-oriented policies as well as creating an investor-friendly atmosphere,” said agriculture minister N Raghuveera Reddy.

“We have been able to instill a sense of confidence among the farming community that has been plagued by vagaries of nature and continuous neglect by the erstwhile TDP government. The vision of chief minister in ensuring free power, liberal subsidised farm inputs, ‘unhindered credit’ and a remunerative price for the produce have all resulted in a changed mindset of the farmer. The state’s relief and rehabilitation for distressed farmers too has provided succour and financial relief,” the minister said.

Airing similar views, Congress spokesperson and council MLC Paladugu Venkat Rao said: “The state has spent around Rs 21,000 crore in the first three years for building irrigation projects and increasing the ayacut by 15 lakh acres. Apart from taking up welfare measures like pensions, housing and health insurance, the government has been working towards economic empowerment of farmers in the state. These measures have succeeded in mitigating woes of the debt-ridden farmer and restricted farmer suicides this year in 18 districts to single digits,” he said.

Revenue officials said that contrary to the trend in the past three years, suicide by farmers has come down to as low as 141. No farmer suicide deaths have been reported this year from Warangal, West Godavari, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam and Mahbubnagar. In 2004, at least 1,212 farmers committed suicide, followed by 657 in 2005 and 514 in 2006.

Officials, however, cautioned at the ongoing farm crisis in districts like Adilabad, Anantapur, Kadapa and Kurnool where the deaths have been relatively high this year against a radical slide across the state. Adilabad recorded 45 suicides, followed by 26 in Anantapur and 13 each in Kurnool and Kadapa. The high suicide rate in Adilabad has been attributed to failure of borewells and spurious cotton seeds.

Meanwhile, revenue officials identified mounting debts, crop failure, illness and vagaries of nature as reasons for farmers to end their lives. While Anantapur farmers have been plagued by increasing bad debts, farmers in Kurnool have ended lives due to loss of crop (onion, sunflower and tomatoes) to heavy rain and flooding, apart from mounting debts.

Contrary to the trend in the past three years, suicide by farmers has come down to as low as 141. No farmer suicide deaths have been reported so far this year from Warangal, West Godavari, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam and Mahbubnagar.

Officials, however, cautioned at the ongoing farm crisis in districts like Adilabad, Anantapur, Kadapa and Kurnool where the deaths have been relatively high this year against a radical slide across the state.

Behind The Scene: CPI building castles in air!

The Communist Party of India is hoping that it would emerge as an independent alternative to the Congress and the Telugu Desam in the State.

Sounds a big joke? But, CPI Central committee member Puvvada Nageshwara Rao feels it is possible, as the people have high hopes on the CPI and want to see it as their new hope. He asked his party cadres to strengthen the party and prepare for the mid-term elections.

Puvvada, who once played a second fiddle to former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and behaved like his stooge to gain some personal benefits like medical college, now says the party will win the confidence of the people by focusing on their problems. He is of the view that the political equations will take shape on their own from the strategies of other parties. "Whether the mid-term elections become a

reality or not, CPI should stay tuned to the task of protecting people's interests" he told the party activists.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

SC told ‘reservation not needed for Muslims in AP’

New Delhi: Muslims in Andhra Pradesh are proportionately represented in employment and they did not require any special law like four per cent reservations in professional and educational institutions in the state, the Supreme Court was told on Tuesday by the petitioners opposing it.

Quoting the data from the first report on religion: census of India, 2001, the petitioners in response to the affidavit filed by the centre said "the percentage of Muslims in employment (in the State) is 9.26 per cent as against the percentage of population of 9.2 per cent".

"Thus, the employment is more than the proportionate to their population and the Muslim community in Andhra Pradesh is proportionately represented in employment. Therefore, Muslim community does not require any special provision," T Murlidhar Rao, the petitioner opposing the law said in his counter affidavit.

The affidavit filed through senior advocate Ramakrishna Reddy said any alleged comparison of the Muslim community with other states will serve no purpose as the backwardness was a relative criterion and has to be compared with rest of the society within the state.

It said before providing the reservation, the backward class commission has not conducted the survey of entire population as ordered by the Supreme Court in Indra Sawhney (Mandal) case.

Further, the commission has not identified the criteria for identifying the BCS and it just adopted the report of advisor P S Krishnan, the affidavit said adding that it was the third attempt to provide reservation to Muslims.

The petitioners said there are several other communities who did not have any opportunity for reservation for the last 20 years.

They contended that Muslims were not deprived of admissions in educational institutions in the state and there were number of minority professional colleges providing admissions exclusively to them.

Andhra Pradesh government has maintained that the law was not on religious lines but based on careful identification of Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) among the community.

The apex court, while stopping any further admissions under the controversial law on September 28, had sought response from the Andhra Pradesh government on sub categorisation of SEBC Muslims for extending the benefit of reservation.

Defending the legislation, the state government said "neither the act nor the report of the commission based on which an ordinance was promulgated and subsequently the act was passed can be termed as religion based".

The Andhra Pradesh government has accepted the report of the P S Krishnan Report (Krishnan) Commission which contended that bulk of Muslim SEBCS were lost sight of over several decades, whereas other groups had the benefit of reservations for over 30 years, including scheduled castes converted to Christianity.

The petition filed by T Murlidhar Rao and K Sriteja has contended that providing reservations exclusively to the Muslim community on religious lines was violative of articles 15(1) and 16(2) of the constitution.

Bureau Report

Rice scheme: Not now darling!

Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy has at last taken the cat out of the bag. He admitted that the Rs 2 a kg rice scheme will be implemented not now, but only after a few months.

"Yes, we will implement the rice scheme without any changes. We will supply rice to the poor people at Rs 2 a kg as per the norms. But not now. I cannot specify the date but in principle, we have decided to implement the scheme. It may be done in three months or six months. The scheme will be implemented after a thorough study," he said.

Party sources say YSR has reserved the scheme for the next Assembly elections, but not certainly for the mid-term elections to Lok Sabha. "He has announced the scheme. That is enough for the time being, as the Lok Sabha elections will be fought on a different plank. But, by the time, the Assembly elections are announced, the scheme will be in full swing and it will definitely fetch him an advantage," sources say.

KCR dumps his nephew to promote son

These days, Telangana Rashtra Samithi president and Karimnagar MP K.Chandrasekhar Rao is sending his nephew and MLA T Harish Rao to Nizamabad district very frequently and entrusting him with the task of consolidating the party there.

If anybody thinks KCR is paying more attention on Nizamabad district, it is mistaken. TRS sources say KCR wants to promote his son Kalwakuntla Taraka Rama Rao from Siddipet (the constituency of Harish Rao) and ultimately make him an MLA in the next elections. For that, he has to get rid of Harish Rao first.

So, KCR made Harish Rao incharge for Nizamabad district and asked him to spend more time there. He told Harish that the TRS was once very strong in Nizamabad, capturing the Zilla Parishad, majority mandal parishads and gram panchayath's when it was established in 2001. It was a Lakhmi district for his party. In 2004 Assembly election, TRS candidates won the constituencies of Dichpally, Armoor and Yellareddy in the district.

Unfortunately, TRS lost its confidence among the party cadre in the later stages, after Armoor MLA and former zilla parishad chairman S.Santhosh Reddy turned a rebel. Active leaders and activists from across the district jumped into the ruling Congress and Telugu Desam (TD) party. So, KCR asked Harish Rao to bring back the past glory to the TRS in Nizamabad. In the event of a mid-term poll to Lok Sabha, Harish might even be fielded in the elections from Nizamabad, party sources say.

Fact Sheet: TD backtracks on YSR's challenge

Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy has finally come out with a challenge to his bete noire and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu. After patiently hearing all the talk of corruption from Chandrababu Naidu and his team of leaders in the Telugu Desam, Rajasekhar Reddy decided enough is enough. On Tuesday he challenged the TD leadership to participate in an open debate with the Congress on the various charges, the TD had been making against him and his family members.

But the TD leadership did not accept the open challenge of YSR. Senior TD leader Nagam Janardhan Reddy was elusive when reporters asked him whether the TD was accepting the challenge. All he could say was that since the Congress government had already ordered 23 inquiries there was no need for an open debate. He said let there be one more inquiry instead of an open debate.

Since TD leaders do not open their mouths without obtaining prior permission from their supremo, it can be construed that Chandrababu Naidu is not interested in facing the chief minister in an open debate. He is rather interested in throwing allegations and mudslinging rather than settling the issue before the public. At least the people will know who is speaking the truth and who is lying.

Babu revises YSR 'corruption' figure

Former chief minister and Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu only the other day made some calculations to announce that Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy earns Rs 1 crore every hour. Within 48 hours of this statement, the TD leadership realised how foolish a statement it had made. And to cover up its charge, Chandrababu Naidu instructed his party senior leader Nagam Janardhan Reddy to hold a press conference. On Tuesday Janardhan Reddy came out with a fresh statement revising the "corruption figure". The TD now says Rajasekhar Reddy has been earning more than Rs 1 crore and not just Rs 1 crore.

Since people will not believe what Chandrababu Naidu had said, Janardhan Reddy came out with wild allegations that since Rajasekhar had earned more than Rs 30,000 crore during the last three years, he had invested Rs 20,000 crore in a steel plant and the balance in a cement factory. He also came out with some "revelations" to ensure that Chandrababu Naidu's statement does not become a laughing stock among the voters.

What Janardhan Reddy did not realise is that people are now taking charges of corruption with a pinch of salt. No one is taking such charges seriously, because after all politicians are known for such tactics.

Fact Sheet: Naidu gets into election mode

Even as the possibility of mid-term elections to Lok Sabha still a speculation, Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu has already got into the election mode and started addressing election meetings in the name of "project baata," creating a scene as if there is going to be mid-term elections to the Assembly.

Naidu, who visited Gundlavagu irrigation project in Warangal district on Tuesday to expose the lack of quality in the project works, addressed several road show meetings and he announced left, right and centre, several sops like Rs 2 kg rice, Rs 500 pension to the aged, and Rs 1,000 unemployment dole, 9-hour free power, and free houses for all, of course with a rider: "if TD is elected to power."

The Opposition leader, who seemed desperate to regain his lost power by making all kinds of promises, has simply forgot that if at all there are any mid-term polls immediately, they would be only for Lok Sabha and not for the Assembly. So, there is no question of TD coming to power now and there is no question of implementing these sops.

First Philadelphia Bathukamma Festival

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First Philadelphia Bathukamma Festival Celebrated in King Of Prussia on October 6th at Valley Creek Park

Philadelphia Telangana NRIs under the banner of Telangana Cultural Association (TCA) celebrated the Bathukamma festival with great jubilation and joy at Valley Creek Park in Malvern. The scenic view of the Valley Creek park and the quietly flowing creek was a perfect setting and it reminded the Telangana villages. It also turned out to be a perfect day - sunny and warm. About 50 people from all over Philadelphia & suburbs participated in the celebrations. Women wore traditional and colorful clothes and brought beautifully decorated bathukammas.

As families started arriving, we started the celebrations with telangana cultural music. The program started with the introductions of all the participants. Lunch was served with different Saddulu, five different rice dishes and various authentic Telangana cuisine brought by the participants.

There were about 10 beautifully decorated Bathukammas and the traditional ceremony started with the Gowri pooja. Later all the ladies formed a big a circle and went around the Bathukkmmas clapping and singing "Bathukkamma Bathukamma Uyyalo Bangaru Bathukamma Uyyalo" . It was a visual treat to see ladies and girls clad in colorful sarees, stepping around rhythmically. Many felt nostalgic about the whole thing; it brought back their childhood memories. Later Bathukammas were immersed in the creek.

There were games for the kids and adults including the best Bathukamma competition. Adults and kids played musical chairs. Men's "musical chairs" was the highlight of the event. Meghana & Venu Bathini family, Neeraja & Sudheer Raju, Manjula & Nagender, Madhavi & Jayander, Soundarya & Ravi and Jamuna & Ravinder Puskur, won the best Bathukamma prizes.

Swamy Savithananda was a special guest for the event. He addressed the gathering and explained about importance meditation and yoga. Some other notable people attended the ceremony included Dr. Jayander, Dr Raghava Reddy, Dr Vijaya Bhaskar.

Special thanks to Jamuna & Ravi Puskur, who came all the way from New jersey to attend the event.

This event was organized with the help of many volunteers who actively participated and made this event a big success. TCA thanks the organizers of the event Sudheer Raju, Subhash Karra, Venu Bathini and Ravi Mayreddy.

Analysis: What's Babu's new economic policy?

Former chief minister and Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu has been talking about the alternative economic policy ever since he lost the State Assembly polls in May 2004. He spoke of the need for such a policy, both at the national and the State fora. He even went to the extent of saying that he would incorporate the alternative economic policy as the election agenda of the so-called third front.

And what is this alternative economic policy? Has it something new to offer? People and political observers as also ruling Congress leaders have been waiting for Chandrababu Naidu to announce the policy. On Monday the policy finally came out of the bag of Chandrababu Naidu. But it were the hands of senior TD leader T Devendar Goud which released the alternative economic policy.

Just think it of yourself and find out whether it is really "alternative".

The highlights of the policy:

1. Supply of Rs 2 a kg rice to the poor. The only alternative here is the promise to supply good quality rice.

2. Supply of LPG or natural gas to homes through pipeline. This proposal has been pending for ages. What is the new alternative here, the TD has to offer: instead of "through pipeline" the TD has used the termed "piped gas supply".

3. Supply of mid-day meal scheme to students. The scheme is already in vogue. The alternative here is, extension of the scheme up to class X. Another alternative here is supply of a glass of milk along with the plate meal.

4. Formation of pay revision commission for government employees. It is the statutory duty of the government to increase the wages of its employees at regular intervals. It is not a favour. It is also not something alternative to the existing economic policy. What has the increase in salaries of government employees, who hardly number three lakhs, to do with the economic policy of the government? The TD has no answer.

5. Separate department for welfare and increase in budgetary allocation to Rs 1000 crore for minorities and other disadvantaged communities.

It's changing India that greets NRIs coming home

When Surya 'Sue' Patel landed at Mumbai airport, she stepped out like many confident NRIs. Wearing the latest Nike sneakers, a designer pair of jeans and her Rolex watch, she thought she would make her presence felt among her relatives in Mumbai before going on to Gujarat to celebrate Navratri and, later, Diwali.

She trundled her Samsonite bags to be welcomed and hugged by her cousin, Meera. Her cousin fished out a mobile and asked the driver to pick them up. Soon the car arrived - a big, gleaming Mercedes Benz. Sue also noted the Gucci bag she was carrying and her Cartier watch. Sue swallowed hard. Ten years ago, Meera and her husband had a Maruti Esteem and now they have certainly moved up in life, she mused.

As they were negotiating the chaotic traffic towards Bandra and Sion, she saw the same ill-kept, dilapidated buildings and hordes of people all over. Later, they went through the Dharavi, the mother of all slums where the huts had encroached footpaths. She noticed how the lamp posts had been engulfed by hutments with signboards of almost every business from groceries to construction materials. Parked on the road was a long line of handcarts pulled by sweating labourers to transport the merchandise. She thought, "Ugh! Mumbai will never change!"

After an endless half an hour of this depressing travel through the squalor of this slum, they came to a toll bridge. Paying the toll, they entered a new world - open, green and wide. "This is Navi Mumbai," said Meera. "We moved here four years ago from our flat in Dadar." Climbing a flyover, they saw new, high-rise buildings, banks, smart restaurants and spanking shopping malls ahead.

Gliding over a four-lane Palm Beach Road, lined with date palms in the centre and verdant plants around them, they came to a high-rise complex called NRI Colony. A gated estate, it had a small smart shopping complex. The watchman waved them in and they went up to the penthouse where Meera's husband, Rasik, and her children, Ela and Vipul, greeted her. The luxuriously decorated penthouse boasted of original paintings and Swaroski crystal. As she took it all in and swallowed hard.

She thought, "Umm, making money was India's first challenge, now it's how to spend it. Seems they are getting plenty of help in this direction as the super luxury goods manufacturers are moving in quickly to get a slice of the market."

Wearing trendy Swatches, the children were soon playing with the latest Sony PlayStation on a huge Samsung plasma screen. Rasik was getting out his Callaway golf set for the weekend round of golf. It seems Meera was spoilt for choice of designer wear, both Western and Indian - Armani, Escada, Moschino, Hermes, Prada, Fendi et all was here. It was the same story for Western designer men's wear and jewellery.

After luxury brands rented outlets in the shopping arcades of five star hotels, they spawned a demand for luxury shopping malls that are due to be opened soon in Delhi and Mumbai. Super luxury cars like Bentley, Rolls Royce and Ferrari are available in India.

On observing the general affluence, Sue said she was happy Rasik was doing well and wondered what the secret of his success was. "Simple," he answered, "I invested in stocks, mutual funds and real estate and all these have gone up many times in the last seven-eight years. The stock market has shot up from 6,000 to almost 18,000 points now; and the real estate is also up by over four times. So after I cashed in on some profits and sold my Dadar flat, I moved here for a better quality of life." But how come they moved into this NRI Colony? Not a problem as they paid the going rates and many Indians had moved in, replied Rasik.

The hi-tech industries and the back office operations of major companies and big banks are located here, an airport is being planned at New Panvel and a bridge linking Navi Mumbai to the city centre is being built. New export processing zones are due to come up and going to the city centre takes 60-90 minutes depending on the traffic and Pune is just three hours away by the super highway.

Sue cringed inside thinking about the 'presents' she had brought for Meera and her family: a perfume bottle she got as a freebie from the store for buying something else, a cut price pair of jeans for Rasik and digital watches from Hong Kong and Chinese toys from Wal-Mart for the children. After this reality check, she decided to let her presents remain in her suitcases.

Fact Sheet: YSR pushes Sonia to corner!

After making tall promises to people like Rs 2 a kg rice scheme, pavala vaddi to farmers on crop loans and construction of houses, Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy is looking up to Sonia Gandhi to provide required financial assistance to fund these schemes.

YSR knows that it is important not just for him, but also for Sonia Gandhi to see that the Congress comes back to power and this time, it should be without the support of the Left parties. So, the onus of ensuring the victory is on Sonia and Manmohan Singh and therefore, they should take up the responsibility of funding the new schemes in order to win back the confidence of the people.

YSR is learnt to have argued with his Cabinet colleagues that it was he who had to take on the entire responsibility of bringing the Congress to power in the last Assembly elections, besides contributing a major share in the Congress strength in Lok Sabha. Though he had been implementing free farm power supply scheme, the UPA government did not help him in any way and he had to manage the resources on his own. This time, the Congress desperately needs a repeat performance and if that has to happen, the UPA government should grant funds for the new schemes like Rs 2 a kg rice scheme and pavala vaddi, he pointed out.

In a way, it is an embarrassing position for Sonia Gandhi. She has to concede YSR's demand or face a difficult situation in the elections!!

YSR to answer all Babu's questions

Yes chief minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy is bracing himself up to answer all the issues raised by his bete noire and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu. Rajasekhar Reddy will address a press conference on Tuesday to clarify his position and to take Chandrababu Naidu to political task.

The other day Chandrababu Naidu turned a mathematician and announced that Rajasekhar Reddy had amassed wealth as much as Rs 29,784 crore during the last three and a half years. He said YSR has been getting bribes at the rate of Rs 1 crore every hour, 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. Chandrababu Naidu has also given a call to party activists to stop the State government for auctioning government lands. He warned that industrialists would be buying such lands at their own risk.

Rajasekhar Reddy who has been silently observing Chandrababu Naidu's remarks and his political tantrums has decided to put all allegations to nought. So he has decided to address a press conference wherein he will clarify his position and the Congress leadership backed by officials are preparing a strong defence to put Chandrababu Naidu in the dock.

Let's wait and watch the political drama unfolding on Tuesday.

22 Bangladeshis arrested in Hyderabad

Hyderabad, Oct 8 (IANS) The Hyderabad police Monday arrested 22 Bangladeshi nationals, including two women, for staying here for several years after illegally infiltrating into India.

The police commissioner's task force (West Zone) conducted raids in Jhirra, Murad Nagar and Zeba Bagh areas in Asif Nagar division and Mir Alam Mandi area in South Zone and arrested 22 Bangladeshi nationals amid a terror alert in the city, the police said.

"During the investigations it was revealed that these illegal immigrants entered into India by crossing the border near Raj Sahi, a Bangladeshi border town, and Boghkalan, Musheerabad, an Indian border town by paying money to the brokers," said a statement from the police commissioner's office.

Some of the illegal immigrants had come to India recently. Some even obtained passports, ration cards, voter's identity cards and PAN cards by furnishing fake documents. They also opened accounts in various banks and were running the business of making bags and suitcases.

Three of those arrested had married local women and have children, while two had crossed over with their Bangladeshi wives, said the statement.

The arrests came amid the high alert sounded last Friday following a tip-off about four suicide bombers, suspected to be Bangladeshi nationals.

Also, the city police probing the bombings at the historic Mecca Masjid on May 18 and twin blasts of Aug 25 claim that the Bangladesh-based terror group Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HUJI) was behind the terror strikes.

The blast at the mosque killed nine. while the twin blasts at a park and a popular food joint claimed 44 lives.

The police had last month arrested a Bangladeshi youth and his sister, staying illegally, in connection with the Aug 25 blasts.

The police believe that Abdul Shahid alias Bilal, a native of Hyderabad and an alleged operative of HUJI, masterminded the blasts and carried them out with the assistance of some Bangladeshis and local youths.

On the basis of a confessional statement by Shahid's brother Abdul Majeed, the police last week claimed that HUJI carried out the blasts under instruction from Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). Shahid is believed to be in Bangladesh.

He is also suspected to have masterminded the suicide attack at the police commissioner's task force office here in 2005. One policeman was killed in the blast carried out by a suspected Bangladeshi suicide bomber.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Fact Sheet: TD cadre not believing Babu!

It is not the voter who is not believing Telugu Desam supremo and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu these days. Guess who are not believing what Chandrababu Naidu says? None other than the Telugu Desam cadre. Chandrababu Naidu had opposed several populist schemes when he was in power for nine long years. He conducted training classes for the party cadre on several occasions to drive home his point that the populist schemes which then Opposition Congress was promising were simply impracticable.

Now that he himself is in the opposition, Chandrababu Naidu feels that these populist schemes, which he once opposed, are quite practicable. This he learnt after the Congress government successfully implemented them.

So Chandrababu Naidu's promises -- as many as a dozen and a half -- have failed to go well into the cadre. The party activists are looking at Chandrababu Naidu with suspicion. How could a person who once opposed is now supporting the very things. Sources point out that Chandrababu Naidu will first convince his party workers before going to the voters with the populist agenda. Let's wait and see how far Chandrababu Naidu will succeed in this Herculean task.

Convincing voters is an easy task because of the most of them are illiterate and act like herds. But the TD activists are an enlightened lot now that Chandrababu Naidu had conducted several training classes for them with experts from various fields.

Fact Sheet: YSR uses Kaka against VH!

Chief Minister Dr Y S Rajasekhar Reddy is trying all his tricks to prevent Rajya Sabha member V Hanumantha Rao from becoming the Pradesh Congress Committee president.

YSR came to know that Hanumantha Rao is playing his BC card to impress upon the newly appointed AICC incharge of AP affairs Veerappa Moily (who also happens to be a BC) to become the PCC president. If VH is given the post, he would certainly be like a thorn in the flesh for YSR and therefore, the latter is desperate in preventing VH.

So, he cleverly used the good offices of veteran Congress MP and Congress Working Committee member G Venkatswamy and also that of former Chief Minister N Janardhan Reddy with the high command to scuttle the chances of Hanumantha Rao. Both the MPs told Madam Sonia Gandhi that VH would not be in a position to lead the entire team of Congress leaders because of his inconsistent stand. If the high command wants only a BC leader to be the PCC president and not a Mala (Mallu Ravi) or Madiga (Nandi Yellaiah), the chance could be given to D Srinivas, who led the party to success in 2004 elections, they told her. Sonia did not make any comment and reserved her decision, New Delhi sources say.

Fact Sheet: Satyam takes govt for a ride!

Satyam group's Ramalinga Raju is one of the few industrialists in the State who could continue to get patronage from the State government, irrespective of the party in power – whether it was Chandrababu Naidu's Telugu Desam or Y S Rajasekhar Reddy's Congress.

Raju, who is the richest industrialist in the State, has taken the government for a ride by entering into an agreement with it on running the Emergency Medicare Services by name "108." Though it is an excellent scheme providing emergency medical facilities like ambulance service with sofisticated equipment, it is said to be one of the schemes of Raju to avoid payment of income tax to the government.

According to sources, Raju had to pay highest amount of income tax (about Rs 45 crore) in a single year because of the huge profits Satyam made a couple of years ago. To avoid this, Raju started the Emergency Medicare Service, signed an MoU with the government to run it as a charitable and service organisation and got exemption from the income tax. Above all, he got the government land at a concessional rate on the city outskirts to run this project, employed staff at huge salaries and gained all the benefits associated with it, apart from avoiding the income tax.

After getting the benefits, Raju quietly handed over the project to the State government and retained a nominal percentage in it. YSR, as is his won't, named it after "Rajiv Gandhi." The project will continue to be run by the Satyam group only, but for the name and the State government's emblem. Two birds at one shot!!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Lok Satta has Veerappa Moily's support!!

The newly appointed All India Congress Committee incharge for Andhra Pradesh affairs, Veerappa Moily might not know many leaders in the State Congress, but he certainly has friends in the Opposition parties, including Yerran Naidu of Telugu Desam and Jayaprakash Narayana of Lok Satta.

In fact, Jayaprakash Narayana has been a close associate of Veerappa Moily for quite a long time. He was a member of the Administrative Reforms Commission, of which Moily was the chairman. After launching the political party, JP quit the Commission, but has been maintaining good relationship with Moily. And Moily too had extended his support to Lok Satta party and described it as a fresh air in the present murky political atmosphere.

Now that Veerappa Moily would be coming to Andhra Pradesh quite often, the Congress leaders are worried whether he would continue his relationship with JP. However, Lok Satta is not a force to reckon with so far and it is unlikely that Moily-JP friendship has any bearing on the Congress prospects in the next elections.

Behind The Scene: People, rain and Congress

The main Opposition Telugu Desam has been announcing a series of pre-poll sops, some of which it had opposed while in power. The Congress too has announced a number of sops.

The TD is not worried about the sops announced by the Congress. After all it believes, like the Congress too, that people take such promises with a pinch of salt. But what is worrying the Telugu Desam leadership is the strong belief that is growing in the public that Congress rule means good rains.

After seven drought years in Telugu Desam's nine years of rule, the State is witnessing fourth consecutive year of good rains. The Congress is praying the Almighty that one more year of good rain and this will put the divine seal on the people's belief that there will be good monsoon only during the Congress regime.

This is precisely the factor why Chandrababu Naidu has been coming out with more sops, though the ruling Congress has already stopped making them. For Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy, it's the rains and not the sops that will tilt the poll balance. Opposition leader and Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu knows this and is going full hammer and tongs on the Congress government raking up issues like corruption. But people do not take corruption charges seriously, because they know where there are politicians there's bound to be some financial irregularities.

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