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Monday, January 7, 2008

10 jokers in Andhra state politics in 2007

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Normally we look at politicians to guide our destiny and design our policies; but in today's politics we come across a large number of buffoons in politics for variety reasons. Deccan Post takes a look at 10 jokers in state politics in 2007 who will be remembered for their foot in mouth remarks, timidity and double speak.

Dreams bite dust
Popularly called MSR, this septuagenarian Karimnagar legislator is one person who never misses an opportunity to express his frustration that CM YS Rajasekhara Reddy ignored him. First, he lost his job due to an endowments land scam and then he was not rehabilitated properly.

Boastful of being AICC general secretary three decades ago and PCC president, MSR always aspires for the moon and gets a lollipop. His trident attack on CM after another Velma senior leader J Ratnakar Rao was made minister has only lowered MSRs’ image. Of course, his second term as APSRTC chairman is no substitute to his gubernatorial dreams.

K K misses bull’s eye
Widely called KK, this maverick Congress leader is best remembered for his jack- in- the box image. People even recall his controversial remarks as education minister in Anjaiah’s cabinet in 1980s that Maths and History were unimportant to students.

After spending ages in wilderness, KK made it to forefront on Congress echelons thanks to Telangana issue. A shrewd man, KK first began his rehabilitation as activist of Telangana Regional Congress Committee and then quickly changed track and became an acolyte of YSR.

This first fetched him the coveted PCC president job and along with it came the Rajya Sabha seat. In the last one-year, we have seen him swinging on Telangana issue suiting his convenience. His blabber earned him more enemies within the party.

But, all machinations came to an end abruptly. One bullet shot from his son’r revolver which claimed the life of a young realtor has forced him to shut his mouth. He not only lost the PCC job, but also the confidence of YSR and the party high command. KK’s sudden fall has only exposed how vulnerable he has been all these days.

Rewarded for barbs
This Shadnagar Congress MLA has demonstrated how power-hungry Congress legislators are. After being denied a cabinet berth, this former minor irrigation minister went on a verbal rampage and hit out at YSR in true Congress style. For a few days, he offered free entertainment to people by venting out his frustration.

Of course, the party high command has its own reasons for keeping him out. Shankar Rao’s father-in-law and MP G Venkata Swamy is a deputy leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, and his brother-in-law G Vinod, a state cabinet minister, so a post for the third member from the family was unlikely.

Shankar Rao even went to the extent of joining hands with other dissident legislators like late PJR and Shashidhar Reddy, famously called Hyderabad brothers. And suddenly, one day he stopped his attack on the CM. Guess what? The CM, a shrewd politician sanctioned a mega tourism project to Shankar Rao on the Mahbubnagar highway, close to the Outer Ring Road. This deal has benefitted Shankar Rao by hundreds of crores, thanks to the rising land prices. He need not have asked for more, nor could he have achieved by becoming a minister.

‘Narada’ Narayana
So far, we have been faced with scarcity of comic leaders from the Left camp. Now this irrepressible comrade from Chittoor district has filled that slot. Known for his pragmatic ideology and cosy lifestyle,

K Narayana is in race to hog limelight on par with his more serious colleague in the bandwagon BV Raghavulu.

Narayana made a fool of himself by publicly eating chicken on Gandhi Jayanti day, when ahimsa is preached. The CPI state secretary could have simply said he had no faith in rituality. But, aping bourgeoisie politicians, he took a vow not to touch non-vegetarian for a year.

Since then, people have begun closely watching Narayana’s moves. A Congress MLA pointed out that the CPI leader had broken his vow, while others say he is eating eggs and omelets (will Gandhians approve of this?).

Not just that. His impromptu comments on third front and Chiranjeevi too have raised eyebrows. On one hand, he is eager to join hands with Chiranjeevi, and on the other also doubts the scope of third front. Narayana, tipped to lead the state for some more time, will end up with more antics.

Nagam loses shine
This bald and bold TDP heavyweight used to carry some credibility within his party. But, alas, these days no one takes him seriously and one can see him fretting and fuming. However, his histrionics in the assembly have made him indispensable to party supremo Chandrababu Naidu.

This Nagarkurnool legislator and former minister considers himself as TDP’s answer to YSR, as he is the only senior Reddy leader in the party. At least, he is the deputy leader of TDP in the assembly. But, Naidu has doubts about the lawmaker’s abilities.

To prove him right, Nagam goofed up the Obulapuram mines issue, which his party thought was a golden opportunity to nail the ruling Congress government.

Dr Reddy who was member of an all-party delegation, which visited Obulapuram mines, was expected to expose mines baron Gali Janardhan Reddy, on illegal mining. Due to his tactlessness, and petulant behaviour, Nagam failed to carry along other opposition leaders.

Apart from that, he even failed to prove beyond doubt the irregularities going on in the mines by the owner as well as the government. Thus, he lost an opportunity and an issue to the party.

Guest artist
Once hailed as Lady Amitabh, Vijayashanthi is struggling to lead a small outfit, Talli Telangana. A very successful heroine, Vijayashanthi initially thought that she would be a smash-hit with people of Telangana by just launching a party.

However, this was not the case, she realised after looking at the situation she had landed in. Before floating her own party, TRS leaders KCR and Narendra wooed her on the one hand, and BJP top brass led by Advani on the other.

The actress has now limited her appearance to occasions like Bonalu festival or a quick padayatra in a city slum. Last time she was spotted at Nilofer hospital where she held a baby and decried that people of the backward region were suffering because of the junior doctors’ strike. As is her wont, Vijayashanthi may take a long break before her next public appearance. Is this the way to be in politics?

Gone with the wind
Maverick, marauder, and Man Friday - all rolled into one. This angry and not-so young man has lost his way this year. Famous for his political analyses and poll predictions, Prakash Rao earned his proximity to YSR solely by attacking TRS supremo KCR and MSR, who too belong to the Velma community.

In the beginning, Rao aspired to emerge as a tall leader within the Congress, but ended up as a point man of YSR or his advisor KVP Ramachandra Rao. Gone Prakash Rao is supposed to have tricked in some DCC presidents from Telangana districts to submit a memorandum to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi that they do not consider Telangana a major issue.

Now, Prakash Rao’s mission is to tarnish the image of Nizamabad Congress MP and AICC secretary Madhu Yashki Goud. The Parliamentarian’s growing proximity to Rahul Gandhi and clout within the party may have prompted Prakash Rao to this mission.

By digging Goud and his kin’s involvement in fake documents to travel abroad, Prakash Rao is only harming the interests of his own party. But, people are not ready to believe that he can do these things on his own. From being a young Peddapalli MLA on Sanjay Vichar Manch ticket in 1978, Rao has been reduced to a semi-employed clown in political circus. What a fall!

No holds barred Ganga
The firebrand Mahila Congress president and MLC is a woman in hurry. She was badly looking for an issue to score a brownie point with YSR. Then came Telugu Mahila leader Nannapaneni Raja Kumari’s remarks against CM that YSR was a “broker”.

To demonstrate her loyalty, Ganga Bhavani led a group of women activists to the house of Raja Kumari and held a dharna there. When tempers ran high and situation turned violent, police stepped in. She threatened to “cut the tongue” of Raja Kumari. Ganga Bhavani justified her aggression on the ground that she cannot stand any criticism against YSR. She cannot stoop lower than this. However, Ganga Bhavani is considered being close to MSR.

An attention seeker
This hyper sensitive north-coastal TDP former minister is known for his now-on-now-off spirits. Once a member of shouting brigade in the assembly during 1989 and 1994, Sitaram often slips into inertia and becomes moody.

His recent release of list of Reddys who were appointed to various nominated as well as official posts by CM has betrayed the sense of frustration in TDP camp. But unwittingly Sitaram made people think of another dominant community, Kammas, during TDP period. This he would not have imagined.

Moreover, his warnings to TDP leadership on internal bickering too were made light by his own party leaders. He opposed TDP supporting a Congress rebel during MLC elections, but backtracked later. Sitaram’s attack on Union minister and NTR’s daughter D Purandareswari too have made him a laughing stock.

No longer isht devta
Many expected a bright future to G Kishan Reddy, who began his political apprentice as Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha. A day never passed without him hitting media headlines in mid-1980s. A quick learner saffron brigade, Kishan Reddy swiftly changed loyalties.

First he was with Baddam Bal Reddy, later CH Vidyasagar Rao, then Dattatreya and finally M Venkaiah Naidu. He learned the tricks of the trade fast, but, in the process lost his self-image. Being a leader of two-member party in the assembly, Kishan Reddy should have been a big hit. But, thanks to his self indulgent and withdrawn attitude, he lost the opportunity.

Kishan Reddy was in tears in the assembly when Speaker KR Suresh Reddy made a casual remark about him. He offered to quit the assembly, but no one took him seriously. That is Kishan Reddy.

Behind The Scene: Jayaprada eyeing on AP?

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Samajwadi Party MP and heroine Jayaprada seems to be toying with the idea of coming back to Andhra Pradesh politics and play a bigger role in developing the party here.

New Delhi sources say Jayaprada is fed up with the Uttar Pradesh politics and she knows that it would be extremely difficult for her to retain her Rampur seat in the next Lok Sabha elections, in the wake of growing influence of UP chief minister Mayawati in her constituency. She might try for a Rajya Sabha seat, but there are several contenders within Samajwadi Party.

So, the best way is to return to Andhra Pradesh, join hands with either Telugu Desam or if the situation demands, with Chiranjeevi's new political party, so as to remain active in politics. Who knows, people of Andhra might even crown this glamourous woman!

Ramoji Rao Advised Chiranjeevi Not To Start Party

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This is the news from inside sources that Ramoji Rao talked to Chiranjeevi for quite a long time before the demise of Konidela Venkat Rao. He met him to give an advise for not to start party. He explained all ins and outs for Chiranjeevi and elucidated how he loses if he enters politics now. He said it seems that 2009 would be an year for TDP.

He added, "If you start party now, people get confused and Congress takes advantage of that. Congress is trying to color that the fight will be between only Congress and Chiranjeevi and TDP wouldn't be in priority. By this kind of indoctrination Congress would take an advantage. The ultimate loser will be you".

However, Congress people are openly talking about Chiranjeevi and welcoming his entry stating that the loser will be TDP. Majority of Telugu population is holding the same opinion now.

‘It won’t be a cakewalk for Chiru in politics’

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Hyderabad: The Left parties are game to the idea of entry of Chiranjeevi into active politics but refuse to play ball—at least for now—on the likely impact he will create on the political firmament in the state. Both CPM and CPI are of the opinion that it augurs well for the state if more number of parties and players enter the political arena.

However, the leaders of both the parties are not ready to accept that mega star Chiranjeevi - for that matter BSP’s Mayawati - will make inroads into the base of the parties. All they say is people will have a wider choice, and hence they welcome Chiru’s entry. Quoting CPM strongman Prakash Karat, CPM state secretary B V Raghavulu says the next elections will be far more decisive if only the proposed party by Chiranjeevi comes out with a clear-cut ideology, programme and policies.

Refusing to hazard a guess on his party’s stand in case Chiru floats a new party, he said: “It will be premature to comment.” Playing the cards close to his chest, he said the Left parties have always welcomed a third alternative provided the policies and programmes are in tune with the CPM ideology.

“Whatever be the final political scenario, the Left will have a very decisive role to play in the months to come,” he said. The CPM got 1.84 per cent votes in the 2004 assembly elections and won nine out of 14 seats it contested. Joining the issue, CPM floor leader Nomula Narsimhaiah said the Congress due to its anti-poor and anti-farmer policies has landed itself into a difficult situation in this election year. “It will not be a smooth sailing for the Congress this time round,” he says.

Preferring to play it safe, CPI general secretary S Narayana told ‘TOI’ that people were unhappy with the present leadership of the Congress and the TDP, giving rise to the third alternative option. “Though more players — whether it is Chiranjeevi or Mayawati — are welcome, they will not be able to make a dent in the two Left parties,” he admitted.

“We are not expecting any dramatic developments as in 1983 when NTR established TDP and swept to power,” he said. The CPI got 1.55 per cent of the votes in the 2004 poll and won six out of 12 seats it had contested.

The TDP had polled 37.59 per cent as against 38.56 per cent votes received by the Congress. The BSP had polled 1.23 per cent of votes and emerged as the seventh largest party though it had won only one seat, forfeiting in the remaining 159 seats it had contested. However, the BSP had polled more votes.

Behind The Scene: PJR death clears VHR's way

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Khairatabad MLA P Janardhan Reddy's sudden death has increased the stakes of Rajya Sabha member V Hanumantha Rao in the Hyderabad Congress politics.

PJR's follower, who feel orphaned after his death, are of the view that VHR is the only person they can rely on. Leaders like Secunderabad MP Anjan Kumar Yadav, PCC general secretay Nirajan and many others, who do not accept the leadership of Greater Hyderabad Congress Committee president Danam Nagender, are now rallying behind VHR, who is also more vocal and independent like PJR.

Indications are that VHR would play a more active role in the State politics, if he is not given the PCC chief post. With his proximity to the national leadership, he might emerge as a major centre in the State Congress, sources say.

Pawan responsible for BSP leader's ouster

Film actor Pawan Kalyan, who always remains in the midst of controversies, on Sunday proved too costly for BSP State leader Nalla Surya Prakash. According to informed sources, Surya Prakash has been replaced by BSP national president Mayawati. Though the reason behind the sudden change in the State BSP leadership is not officially known, sources point out that the BSP central leadership was quite angry at the role played by Surya Prakash, both in Pawan Kalyan issue and in the entry of TRS (N) leader A Narendra into the BSP. Surya Prakash has hogged all the limelight. He announced that Pawan Kalyan was joining the BSP. He said he had photo documentary evidence to support his claim.

There were also reports that film star and Pawan Kalyan's brother Chiranjeevi was projected by the BSP State president as the future chief minister of the State. Mayawati, who was apparently unhappy over her party's State unit leader going too far and taking his own decisions on crucial issues, decided to teach him a lesson. So she replaced him with some one who would toe her line of thought and would not create problems for her.

Political Talk: Babu puts stop to T talk

Former chief minister and Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu has virtually gagged the mouth of party leaders on the controversial Telangana issue. For the first time, Chandrababu Naidu made an open statement at a press conference at party State headquarters NTR Bhavan that Telugu Desam leaders and activists should not speak anything, good or bad, on Telangana. He also told them to approach him if they have to say something on the Telangana State.

Chandrababu Naidu's statement comes in the wake of reports that TD leaders from Telangana are divided on the demand for a separate State for the backward region. The TD supremo had faced certain embarrassing moments when media flashed the differences in the top leadership of the Telugu Desam on as crucial issue as the division of Andhra Pradesh to form a separate State for Telangana.

The TD chief could not hide his anger but made efforts to control it. His statement is a warning to senior leader T Devendar Goud and others to mend their ways if they had to remain in the Telugu Desam.

So there will be no T talk in the TD forums henceforth. One has to wait for Chandrababu Naidu's "appropriate time" to arrive for the TD chief to make a Telangana statement on his own.

Film stars can only sing and dance: Mayawati

Hyderabad: Launching the Bahujan Samaj Party's foray into Andhra Pradesh politics, its leader and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati Sunday made it clear that there was no place for film stars in her BSP.

Addressing a well-attended public meeting at the Nizam College grounds here, she urged people not to fall to the spell cast by film actors. 'The film actors can't serve the society. They can only dance and sing,' she said amid applause by the crowd.

Mayawati said the BSP was against admitting film personalities into the party in Uttar Pradesh and all other states, and asked party leaders in Andhra Pradesh not to make any attempt in this regard.

'BSP has no place for film actors. This is against our policy,' she said.

The BSP leader's comments are significant in view of the speculations that Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi could join the BSP or the party could invite him.

The clarification also came amid reports that Chiranjeevi's younger brother Pavan Kalyan, himself an actor, was keen to join the BSP. The party's state leaders had claimed a few days ago that Pavan Kalyan held talks with them.

Speculations were doing round since Sunday morning that Mayawati could call on Chiranjeevi to offer condolences after the death of his father. No such meeting took place and the BSP leader set the record straight at the public meeting.

Chiranjeevi, who is also engaged in some social activities, has a huge fan following in the state and his aides recently hinted that he would soon launch a political party.

During her hour-long speech, Mayawati repeatedly urged weaker sections of this southern state to replicate the Uttar Pradesh formula to gain political power in the state and at the centre to improve their socio-economic conditions and help BSP create a casteless society.

She promised to give separate statehood to Telangana region if the BSP formed government in New Delhi. The public meeting saw parliamentarian from Medak A. Narendra merging his Telangana Rashtra Samiti (Narendra) with the BSP.

Mayawati appealed to dalits, minorities and poor among upper castes to reject the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), their allies and some regional parties, and said these parties were responsible for exploiting them since the independence.

'You (weaker sections) are an overwhelming majority but the Congress, BJP and their allies which ruled the country and the states during the last 60 years followed a policy of divide and rule. They divided you all these years and made you feel that you are in minority,' she said.

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