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Thursday, August 9, 2007

Spy Report: Lagadapati emulating Chandrababu!

Vijayawada MP and firebrand industrialist Lagadapati Rajagopal seems to be emulating former Chief Minister and Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu in "back-stabbing" his father-in-law Parvathaneni Upendra.

There is a lot of drama in this episode. Upendra played a prominent role in the early days of Telugu Desam foundation and was a close associate of its founder-president N T Rama Rao. On the other hand, Rajagopal has been in the Congress right from the beginning, like Chandrababu Naidu. While Naidu differed with NTR because the latter married Lakshmi Parvathi, who was dominating the TD politics, Upendra was angry with Lagadapati, because the latter has was allegedly having illicit relationship with a woman public relations officer in the police department. Because of her, Lagadapati started ignoring his wife (Upendra's daughter).

Of late, Lagadapati has been dominating the Vijayawada politics, completely sidelining Upendra, who sacrificed his seat for his son-in-law in 2004 general elections. Now, Upendra feels he has been stabbed in the back by Lagadapati, just as NTR suffered backstabbing from Chandrababu Naidu!

MIM activists rough up Taslima Nasreen in Hyderabad

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HYDERABAD: Controversial Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen was on Thursday roughed up by MIM activists who stormed into a book release function, injuring a Telugu writer and a press photographer.

Nasreen, here to release the Telugu translation of her latest book 'Shodh', escaped unhurt as organisers and journalists shielded her and escorted her to safety.

A group of over 40 MIM workers, led by party MLAs Afsar Khan, Ahmed Pasha and Mouzam Khan, barged into the press club at Somajiguda when the function was about to end.

Hurling abuse and shouting slogans, the MIM workers surged menacingly towards the dais as a stunned Nasreen looked on.

They threw papers and books at Nasreen. In the melee, Telugu writer N Innaiah, the organiser of the function and president of the rationalist organisation Centre for Inquiry, was injured along with a press photographer.

Alert organisers and journalists covering the event threw a protective ring around Nasreen and took her to an adjoining room.

The MIM activists, who demanded that Nasreen should leave immediately, broke windows and damaged furniture at the venue.

Police then reached the spot and dispersed them.

The three MLAs from the city and their supporters were taken to Banjara Hills police station, Deputy Commissioner of Police M Madhusudhan Reddy said.

The manager of the Press Club filed a complaint with police against the attackers.

A large number of mediapersons gathered at the press club and protested against the behaviour of the MIM activists. They sought stringent action against the MLAs and their supporters.

Later, a delegation of journalists led by Indian Journalists Union (IJU) secretary general K Srinivasa Reddy and Andhra Pradesh Union of Working Journalists (APUWJ) leader D Amar met Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy and sought stringent action against the culprits.

The MIM, which has considerable influence in the old city area, is represented in the Lok Sabha by Asaduddin Owaisi and has five members in the assembly.

Digvijay Singh, the Congress general secretary in-charge of party affairs in Andhra Pradesh, condemned the incident and said such attacks had no place in a liberal society.

The CPI state council termed the incident as an "attack on the freedom of expression by Muslim fundamentalists" and demanded the immediate arrest of the MIM legislators and their supporters.

Cong wooing women well in advance

The elections to the State Assembly are still 20 months away, but the ruling Congress has already begun wooing the women electorate with all the pre-election sops like distribution of sarees and blouses, as if the election is tomorrow.
In several districts, the beneficiaries under Indiramma housing scheme are getting more than what they have asked for. Under this scheme, the house site documents are given in the name of women. Along with the pattas, the beneficiaries are being given a saree, blouse piece, bangles, kumkum, betel leaves and nut powder.
Not only this, food is being served to the women and those accompanying them if they are struck at the venue after 12.00 noon. In fact Chief Minister Dr YS Rajasekhar Reddy expressed surprise when pattas are given with sarees when he launched the distribution during his visit to Nellore on Sunday. Local MLA A Vivekananda Reddy told the Chief Minister that it would be given to all the beneficiaries, as part of the tradition.
And the bill for providing food as well as other items like saree and blouses is being footed by the local municipal authorities!!

Behind The Scene: Ramoji empire crumbling!

Looks like Eenadu group chairman Ramoji Rao's empire is gradually crumbling. The orders passed by Revenue Tribunal declaring 1363 acres of land under possession of Ramoji group as ceiling land and asking Ramoji Rao to surrender the land to the government immediately sent shockwaves not only in his family, but also in the entire group.
It was a hot topic for discussion among the employees of Eenadu and ETV and there was an element of insecurity among them. The question that was doing rounds among those employees was: what would be their fate, if Margadarsi and Ramoji Film City collapse simultaneously. Does Ramoji Rao have the capacity to withstand this disaster. News was that even Blackstone, who was expected to take over part of the equity in Ramoji group, has now backed out.
Interestingly, not a single story appeared in Eenadu about the Revenue Tribunal order on Thursday, while all other newspapers blew it up on front pages. Indications are that many employees have already starting making plans to look for greener pasteurs, before they become part of the bankruptcy!

Buzz: Jumbo committee exposes Naidu weakness

The constitution of a jumbo State executive of the Telugu Desam with 176 members on Wednesday has thoroughly exposed the hollowness of its president N Chandrababu Naidu's leadership.
In the State committee, Naidu has accommodated everybody, who he thinks have the capacity to become nuisance value in the coming days. To defend his action, he tried to put up a show saying he had to satisfy all the sections, particularly BCs, SCs and STs, while constituting the committee. First of all, it is not a Cabinet and there is no additional benefit or monetary gains these leaders would get, except that they could seek positions if the TD comes to power. So, there is no need for any caste balancing in the party posts.
Secondly, there will be no work division in such a big committee and particularly in a party like Telugu Desam, there is nothing that the party leaders can do, as all the decisions are taken and all the talk is done only by Naidu and rest are all only listeners.
Even in the so-called politburo, only Naidu's word prevails and there will be none to differ with him. Those who can question his decisions, like Kotagiri Vidyadhar Rao or Kadiam Srihari, are kept out of politburo. In fact, Naidu reportedly thought of taking even Devender Goud out of politburo, but feared that it would trigger a revolt in the party in Telangana region.
So, Naidu was scared of any making major changes in the party committee, but for inclusion of Harikrishna in the politburo!

Land Tribunal news is no news for Ramoji’s Eenadu!

The orders passed by the RDO of Ranga Reddy East Division T Manikyala Rao on the excess holding of lands by him is no news for Eenadu and ETV. The story does not find mention anywhere in the paper. Not even a single column tucked away in the inside pages!
It reminds one of the Telugu saying “Pillu Kallu Moosuku Paalu Taagithe, Thanai Evaru Choodatledu Anukuntundi” (A cat will drink milk with its eyes closed thinking that no one is watching it).
So the chief editor of Eenadu may be under the impression that if the story is not published in Eenadu, then nobody will ever come to know about it.For late comers, the story is that the tribunal has found that Ramoji Rao and his group are in possession of about 1,380 acres of excess land, which is in violation of the AP Land Reforms (Ceiling on Agricultural Holdings) rules 1974. The tribunal has issued a notice to Ramoji Rao and has given 15 days time to respond.

Naidu places his son's marriage card on Balaji's feet

Tirumala, Aug 8: The former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and Telugu Desam Party(TDP) President N Chandrababu Naidu today placed the first Invitation card of his son Lokesh's marriage at the feet of Lord Venkateswara and sought his blessings at Tirumala temple.

Earlier, Mr Naidu, who flew here along with his wife and TDP founder late N T Ramarao's daughter Bhuvaneswari from Hyderabad to Tirupati yesterday, was received by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD)Joint Executive Officer G Balaramaiah and temple Deputy Executive Officer Prabhakar in the temple.

Mr Naidu offered worship to the Lord, after the Archananthana Darshan (AAD) in the sanctum sanctorum and later deposited the wedding card in Srivari Hundi.

Lokesh would marry cine actor Balakrishna's daughter Brahmani on August 26 in Hyderabad.

Later, the TTDP supremo visited Tirupati and left for Hyderabad by air, the party sources said.

Ramoji asked to surrender surplus 1500 acres land

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In what is seen as a major bow to the image of Ramoji Rao and the biggest setback in his life, is the verdict delivered by the Land Tribunal today. The verdict comes after about nine months of hearing. In the order, the tribunal has said that Ramoji Rao possesses about 1804 acres of land. This is in excess of the stipulated 500 acres. The land holding is spread across Film city, Shamshabad, Chittoor, Kankipadi and other place in the state.

The land is in the names of RFC, Eenadu, Margadarsi, Ch Kiran, Ch Suman, Dolphin hotels and other group entities. With this order, Ramoji Rao now has no option but to surrender the excess land that could be up to 1,500 acres.

The tribunal passed the orders and has given Ramoji Rao 15 days time to respond. If the fails to respond, the tribunal will have the right to take back the lands.

The only concession that Ramoji Rao can expect is that he can decide on which land to keep and which land to surrender. The choice of retaining 500 acres of land vests with Ramoji Rao. More details about the tribunal’s verdict are awaited.

Dutt given `manual hard work' in jail; to do painting

Pune: Actor Sanjay Dutt, sentenced to six-year rigorous imprisonment in 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case, has been given "manual hard work" at Yerawada Central Jail but he expressed keeness for painting , official sources said.

Though the nature of the job given to Dutt was not disclosed, the sources said it could be anything under work options available to convicts such as carpentry (which includes cane work), textile, painting, bakery, printing press, leather work, farming, powerloom/handloom, motor garage and kitchen in the jail industry.

The 48-year-old actor, convicted under the Arms Act for possessing illegal weapons, is said to have expressed his desire to get involved in painting work, an official source told PTI on condition of anonymity.

"It is not that a convict serving rigorous imprisonment at Yerawada Jail is expected to stick to just one job. He can ask for a change in work as per his inclination and aptitude," the sources noted.

The prisoners get their prescribed allowance under different work categories.

The prison, housing around 3,000 inmates, gets an annual revenue of over Rs one crore by way of the sale of various products made available through its outlets, they said.

Meanwhile, the jail authorities have denied any special treatment or concessions were given to the visitors Dutt had on Monday - his sister Namrata and friend Manyata - as well as the team of lawyers from Mumbai as reported in the media.

"For us, Dutt happens to be just one of hundreds of jail inmates serving their sentence on conviction," Satish Mathur, Inspector-General, Prisons, said.

Harikrishna gets berth in TD politburu

Former chief minister and Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu, who does not believe in giving plum posts to relatives, has finally changed his well established principles and rules. He has included his brother-in-law and former minister N Harikrishna into the party politburo, the highest decision making body of the Telugu Desam.

But it is to be seen how Harikrishna will function as one of the important members of the party politburo. Harikrishna is known for his short temper and Chandrababu Naidu does not tolerate anyone questioning his authority. It is going to be clash of titans.

Inside sources point out that Chandrababu Naidu has bent rules to benefit Harikrishna for two reasons: Harikrishna was instrumental in arranging the wedding of Chandrababu Naidu's son N Lokesh with film actor-brother N Balakrishna's daughter Brahmani.

The second most important reason is that Chandrababu needs the support of some one from the NTR family if he wants to make some forays into the next Assembly elections. Several surveys by Chandrababu Naidu show that the party's position is weak and it needs to be strengthened. So who is the best ratha-sarathy other than Harikrishna. Chandrababu Naidu has no choice but to opt for his brother-in-law for the plum post.

Fact Sheet: Babu gets 10 mouths for publicity

Former chief minister and Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu has appointed as many as 10 official spokespersons for the party.

The TD used to have just a couple of spokesperson and after losing power, he increased the number to half a dozen. Now he has increased the number of spokespersons to 10.

Telugu Desam is perhaps the only Opposition political party in the world to have as many as 10 spokespersons. Chandrababu Naidu believes in publicity and that's the reason why he has chosen so many mouths to speak out on a variety of public issues. With the election fever already catching up the Congress and the Telugu Desam in the State, 20 months ahead of the Assembly polls, the TD supremo feels that so many mouths will add to the party's campaign.

But political observers feel that 10 spokesperson for a party which is not in power will create utter confusion and unless there's no proper coordination there will be chaos.

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