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Saturday, August 4, 2007

TDP charges congress of wasting public money

Accusing the Congress government of wasting public money on publicity, the main opposition TDP demanded a white paper on the funds spent on publicity during the last three years.

Though congress had in the past criticised the tdp regime on publicity spending, it had been going overboard to promote the image of Chief minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy, senior TDP Legislator E Dayakar Rao alleged at a press conference here.

He challenged the government to publish a white paper covering the previous government's expenditure also. alleging that the government had drawn up a Rs 100 crore publicity blitzkrieg, Rao said his party would take the issue to the people and the day was not far off when the ruling party would be taught a fitting lesson for its misdeeds.

Citing the instance of Health minister S Chandrasekhar facing the public wrath yesterday at Mudigonda village, the scene of the July 28 police firing that claimed seven lives, he said a similar fate awaited the ruling party leaders. the TDP leader claimed that the government's reported move to launch a major publicity drive was aimed at covering up its omissions and commissions.

"However, they will not succeed in their designs, however hard they may try," Rao added.

Telugu to be taught in Hebrew University

The Israel-based Hebrew University has decided to introduce a course in Telugu at the postgraduate level. The Telugu course will begin from the next academic year in Tel Aviv.

Sri Potti Sriramulu Telugu University will conduct the course in Hebrew University. The State government has given its nod to the Telugu University to go ahead with the new course.

The State government will fund Rs 10 lakh to enable introduction of the Telugu course.

Telugu University received a letter from the director of the Depatrtment of Asian Languages in Hebrew University saying that students in Israel are showing keen interest in learning Telugu.

Telugu to be taught in Hebrew University

The Israel-based Hebrew University has decided to introduce a course in Telugu at the postgraduate level. The Telugu course will begin from the next academic year in Tel Aviv.

Sri Potti Sriramulu Telugu University will conduct the course in Hebrew University. The State government has given its nod to the Telugu University to go ahead with the new course.

The State government will fund Rs 10 lakh to enable introduction of the Telugu course.

Telugu University received a letter from the director of the Depatrtment of Asian Languages in Hebrew University saying that students in Israel are showing keen interest in learning Telugu.

Nagaphani Sharma's 2nd Innings From Haridwar

The scandalous scholar Madugula Nagaphani Sharma has been in oblivion from many months ever since he was alleged in a molestation case. Although no proceedings in that case have seen light, Nagaphani Sharma has been living far from lime light. Now after a long hibernation he is getting ready to start his second innings. But that is not from anywhere in AP.

As Sharma is a great scholar in Sanskrit as well, he is flying to Haridwar in Uttaranchal state to conduct Bhagawad Saptaaham for 7 days there. His brother in law is playing the coordinator role in this.

So, multifaceted Sharma can make his living anywhere in his own style. The event is going to held between September-October.

Andhra Politics is all Maya

Even as politics in the state took a new turn last week with the unprecedented police firing in Mudigonda, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati’s long shadow has started falling on Andhra Pradesh. No, Mayawati has not disclosed her intention to mobilise the Dalits in Andhra Pradesh. Neither has she commented on the Khammam firing incident, but with her ascendancy to power in the largest state in the country, New Delhi’s outlook towards the creation of a separate Telangana state has changed. If the thinking in Raisina Hills previously was to seriously consider forming the new state if that would help the fortunes of the Congress party in Andhra Pradesh in Elections 2009, that point of view has now been jettisoned. This since Mayawati would hate any move to create smaller states. Reason? The pressure will be on her to agree for breaking Uttar Pradesh into two smaller states, compact and easier to administer. In fact, the ideological battle has already begun with even unrelated people including former cabinet secretary B G Deshmukh mouthing the theory that no state should be allowed to have more than 10 per cent of the total seats in Lok Sabha.
It would not be lost on the Dalit queen that this ideology is being propagated only to keep her away from being a major force in the politics of Delhi. But that she will be in the run up to Elections 2009, and for that reason the Congress party diametrically opposed to both Mulayam Singh Yadav and BJP-have to get her on their side. It is no gain saying that the Telangana movement has become defunct (at least for the time being) what with many netas of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) being compromised in the fake passport scam. And although TRS supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao has announced his padyatra, nobody really has faith in his ability to keep the momentum up. “Had the movement for Telangana generated immense pressure at the ground level then the Mayawati factor could have been offset by this movement. But then there is not much evidence of this,” a political analyst said. Babu’s offensive
In fact, Telangana is on the back-burner for the time being what with TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu having launched a full scale offensive against the government of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy. With Naidu and YSR being on the same wavelength as far as Telangana is concerned (both don’t want a separate state), the political discourse till last fortnight was all about the performance of the incumbent government and the riches allegedly amassed by YSR and his ministers. Naidu brigade’s charge has been that the government is very very corrupt and has nothing to show on the ground. With Mudigonda happening, Naidu has latched himself to the Left agenda of land reforms and is now making common cause with them. The unstated offer from Naidu to the Left: “Let’s work together, With such a small vote base that you Left parties have, you can come to power only riding piggyback on a bigger party like TDP. There is no scope for a third option in the bi-polar polity of AP.” But sections of the Left would not have anything to do with him precisely because they feel that Naidu’s TDP being the bigger partner will corner the electoral benefits that this agenda may yield.
Moreover they also feel that TDP is itself a ‘bourgeoise’ party and therefore not in a position to participate in the movement. The whole programme of landfor-the-landless will go off track with the involvement of the TDP, they aver. Some of them feel that while opposing the Congress, they can still gain by remaining in limited alliance with that party. As 2009 comes closer Naidu and TDP will bank more and more on the anti-incumbency factor that will hit the YSR government. Chandrababu Naidu is also trying to weave a magic around the name of N T Rama Rao and hopes that this will fetch votes. After all NTR is the man who a quarter century ago entered the Andhra political scene as a tornado, displacing the Congress for the first time in the state. NTR’s son and film actor Balakrishna will be used to substitute for his father, in some way. Naidu’s problem is that his party’s policies are similar to that of the Congress. Both the parties are for growth, increasing agricultural production and economic liberalisation. “So TDP perforce has to bank only on the anti-incumbency of the YSR government,” an analyst said. YSR’s gameplan
No neta in power will ever give it up, willingly. This is especially true for Y S Rajasekhara Reddy who came to his present position after immense labour and toil. YSR has been in state politics for the last quarter of a century but it took ten year’s of anti-incumbency of the Naidu regime and padyatras across the state to bring him to power. It is clear that YSR will do what he can to retain power and get back to the CM’s gaddi at the next election. Of course Congress politics is all about the high command destabilising regional satraps every now and then. But this strategy, perfected during the time of Indira Gandhi, is these days being played at a very low-key level. Not surprising because the Congress of Sonia Gandhi is not the Congress of the yore of Indira Gandhi.
New Delhi’s new strategy is a measure of relief for YSR, but more important is the fact there are no internal challengers for his gaddi. In the state, the Hyderabad brothers—Shashidhar Reddy and P Janardhan Reddy—who are the most visible faces of dissidence are not strong enough. At the centre, Jaipal Reddy is almost petrified to raise his voice in Hyderabad. Former chief minister N Janardhan Reddy does not have age on his side. Pradesh Congress chief Keshava Rao is a paper tiger. And aspirant for the CM’s post in 2004, D Srinivas, a minister in YSR’s cabinet is a non-entity. This in spite of the fact that he is a member of the other backward castes (OBC), which these days is politically the most important caste. Equally important, YSR who by now has perfected the art of realpolitik, has friends in the Delhi durbar. Those in the know of things say that he keeps them happy and in turn they speak up for him when required. Besides YSR also maintains good relations with both Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh. Even as he has kept New Delhi happy, YSR’s feudal background has helped him in politics. Loyalty comes naturally to him, as do relationships of all kinds: caste, kin, region and friendships. Armed with these YSR has built a strong network of loyalists who swear by him. “YSR banks on these and very rightly so,” says an analyst. In fact there is a line of thinking that if YSR is pushed into a corner by the high command, the possibility of his breaking the Congress party in the state and creating an “Andhra Congress” party cannot be ruled out. “If that happens, politics of Andhra Pradesh will become like the politics of Tamil Nadu. There will be two regional parties vying for power and the national parties will have to say bye bye,” the analyst said. Of course, at the present moment there is no indication of all this happening. For the time being, YSR is busy disengaging the Left from the TDP and patching up with the former. With Manmohan Singh’s government dependent on Left support, he has been told to make up with the Red brigade. In particular he will have to devote his attention to CPM’s state secretary B V Raghavalu and Sitaram Yechury of the central unit. That’s not going to be an easy job. No OBC consolidation
Over fifty years ago, one of India’s most famous sociologist M N Srinivas noted how Indian politics revolved around castes. About Andhra Pradesh he pointed out that the Reddys entered the Congress party, while their rivals in the village society, the Kammas entered the Communist party. This trend had become so pronounced that oldtimers remember how they used to jeer that it was not Communist but ‘Kammanist’ party. Even as the Congress made headway in state politics, the Communists remained far behind. Due to changes in national level politics, the Communist party broke down into the CPI and the CPM.
It was only in the early 1980s, celluloid hero N T Rama Rao burst into the political scene riding on the sentiment of neglect at the hands of the central government that the Telugus were feeling and also riding on Kamma aspirations. The only constant in Indian politics is change. Even as the Reddys and Kammas dominated the Andhra Pradesh electoral scene with their minuscule numbers, an OBC ferment has begun in the state. Numerically the OBCs comprise 50 per cent of the electorate of the state, but their voice in Andhra Pradesh politics is not really heard. But OBC consciousness is now increasing, especially among the Kapus and Gouds. This, by itself does not help because the OBCs are divided. Even Kapus do not present an unified picture: Kapus of Telangana are different from that of the coastal districts, who are distinct from those in Rayalaseema. The Kapus, the most likely candidates for leadership of the OBC grouping, are in search of a leader. Tentatively they have zeroed in on superhero of Tollywood, Chiranjeevi. The gamble is that Chiranjeevi with his appeal cutting across castes might be able to weave a magic, in the same way that N T Rama Rao did 25 years ago. The problem? Chiranjeevi himself. Analysts across the board think that the star is not quite ready to take the jump into the ocean of politics. But the Kapus are keeping their fingers crossed. They know that if Chiranjeevi has to enter politics, it has to be now. Otherwise it will be too late to weld the Kapus together into a composite force.

Report: Why did Narendra choose to join BSP?

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The reports that Telangana Rashtra Samithi (N) president A Narendra is toying with the idea of joining Bahujan Samaj Party has raised many an eyebrow in the political circles.

First question that arose was why Narendra chose to join the BSP. The argument once again is that there is a possibility of Dalits in Andhra Pradesh getting consolidated and wrest power from the upper castes on the lines of BSP in Uttar Pradesh, provided they fight unitedly. Though the BSP has a very little presence in AP with just one MLA, there is also every possibility that it would grow into a full fledged political party if there is a strong leader to take the lead role. So far, the BSP doesn't have any strong leader. So, Narendra might have thought he would get the lead role in building the BSP in Andhra Pradesh.

But whether BSP president Mayawati would accept Narendra as the leader of BSP in AP is a difficult question. First, Narendra is not a Dalit leader but only a BC leader. Secondly, Narendra has been identified with the separate Telangana movement and a strong votary of this struggle. On the other hand, the BSP would not like to confine itself to just a few pockets of Telangana, but would like to grow into a bigger player in the AP politics. Therefore, Narendra might not fit the bill.

Why then is Narendra is meeting Mayawati? He tried to project himself as an alternative leader to K Chandrasekhar Rao and launched his own party, but he is not able to receive any support from any people or cadres, except a handful of leaders around him. So, if he gets the support from his old fried Mayawati, it would be useful to him politically. Hence, the idea, observers say.

Leftists play dual role at Centre and State

There appears to be no consistency in the stand taken by the Communist parties – CPI and CPI-M – insofar as having an alliance with the Congress. A strange phenemenon is now being witnessed in their political stand at the Centre and the State.

Going by the reports from New Delhi, it is apparently not happy with the United Progressive Government at the Centre. Its national secretary A B Bardhan has been openly saying that the CPI might withdraw its support to the UPA government at any time, because the Manmohan Singh government is caring a damn for the CPI's suggestions. Therefore, Bardhan is accusing the Congress of going against the Common Minmum Programme. He is even pressurising the CPI-M to withdraw its support to the UPA government.

On the other hand, the CPI-M has been showing a soft corner towards the UPA government, inspite of the latter deviating from the CMP at times. Its national secretary Prakash Karat is dead against withdrawal of support to the UPA, as it would only help the BJP to stage a comeback.

In AP, these parties are going exactly in the opposite direction. The CPM has been colluding with the Telugu Desam to pull down Rajasekhara Reddy government, while the CPI is discreetly supporting it. If at all the TD comes back into power in 2009, then the Communists change their colours very quickly. So, that is Communism!!

Fact Sheet: Madam pulls up maverick KK!

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The maverick Pradesh Congress Committee president K Kesava Rao, who is known for his foot-in-the-mouth syndrome, had to incur the wrath of Madam Sonia Gandhi for losing tongue at the Communist parties.

Sonia summoned Kesava Rao along with Chief Minister to New Delhi to seek their personal explanation on the Mudigonda firing incident. While YSR could give a convincing explanation to the Madam about the incident, Kesava Rao tried to project an intellectual perspective of the land struggle by communists. But Sonia had already in posession of the report obtained from the State about Kesava Rao's diatribe against the Communist parties, particularly CPI-M leader B V Raghavulu, attributing casteist feelings to him. She gave a dressing down to Kesava Rao for spoiling the relations between the CPI-M and the Congress, as it had created a sensitive situation for the UPA government at the Centre. She reportedly instructed him to remove the bad blood between the two parties.

A red-faced Kesava Rao had to tell mediapersons later that the Communists were still his friends of the Congress and they had a lot of common interests. He gave an explanation that he had already withdrawn the comments he had made against Raghavulu and was ready to apologise. Despite his foul-mouthing, Kesava Rao got an assurance from the high command that he would not be replaced at this juncture.

Political parties responsible for violence: Court

The AP High Court has felt that political parties should be held responsible for any violence that takes place during agitation sponsored by them, like dharnas, rasta rokos and protest demonstrations.

The HC was hearing arguments on a writ petition filed by Telugu Desam secretary PNV Prasad on Mudigonda police firing.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice G S Singhvi and Justice CV Nagarjuna Reddy said leaders who instigate agitators should be arrested.

Industrialist KS Raju gets six months jail term

Nagarjuna Finance Limited promoter-director KS Raju has been sentenced to a jail term of six months in a contempt case.

The AP High Court on Friday sentenced Raju to the jail term and imposed a fine of Rs 2000. The court also asked him to bear the food expenses while serving the prison term.

Justice Anand Reddy pronounced the judgement for wilfully disobeying of the orders of the court.

Edupuganti Bapanaiah, resident of Kolluru village in Guntur district, filed a contempt petition against Raju, N Selvaraj, president of Nagarjuna Finance Limited and Nagarjuna Finance.

He urged the court that the respondents had wilfully disobeyed the orders passed by Company Law Board, Chennai, seven years ago. They had also committed breach of the affidavit filed in the court in April, 2001.

Political Talk: Sonia gives clean chit to YSR

The dissidents in the state are in for a shock. They hoped that the Mudigonda issue would put chief minister YS Rajashekar Reddy in the dock. But their fond hopes are fizzling out fast. The PM Manmohan Singh who was in Hyderabad in the aftermath of the Mudigonda incident did not say a word against the CM or the government.

Now party chief Sonia Gandhi has also not said or done anything that gives an impression that she is not happy with the functioning of the Rajashekar Reddy government. In fact, she is reported to have gone ahead and patted the CM on his back for doing a fairly good job.

The chief minister is in Delhi and he met party chief Sonia Gandhi. The meeting lasted for well over an hour. In the meeting the Chief Minster is said to have explained to Sonia Gandhi the events leading to the firing incident at Mudigonda.

Sonia is reported to have agreed with the view of the CM that the government not only reacted very fast but also had no role in the unfortunate incident that led to the death of seven people. (The toll has now gone up to eight).

Sonia is said to have advised the CM not to take too much notice of the criticism of the opposition parties but instead, he should step up the developmental works.

So YSR returns from Delhi with a fait accompli. His hands have now been further strengthened after meting Sonia Gandhi. He has managed to curb any threat of dissidence against him from his party men. Sonia is also expected to sort out the difference with the leftists at the national level.

Sonia had also called PJR to Delhi last week and that issue is also now a closed chapter. So YS is now grinning as he has managed to convince Sonia Gandhi that he is doing his best.

So the threat that was looming large over YSR’s head seems to have been blown away now.

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