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Dynasty politics: YSR family continues to dominate Andhra Pradesh

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Dynasty politics: YSR family continues to dominate Andhra Pradesh

Amaravati, April 2 (IANS) The politics of Andhra Pradesh revolves around the families of two former chief ministers, who left behind strong political legacies.

If there is another leader after Telugu Desam Party (TDP) founder Nandamuri Tarakarama Rao who left a profound impact on Andhra Pradesh politics, it is Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy.

If legendary actor-turned-politician NTR altered the politics of combined Andhra Pradesh by floating TDP on the plank of Telugu self-respect in early 1980s, YSR emerged as one of the most popular leaders with his revolutionary welfare schemes for farmers and poor.

Such is the domination of these two families on the politics of residuary Andhra Pradesh that their members head four major parties, including the ruling and the main opposition.

While NTR’s family has been dominating Andhra politics for four decades, the family of YSR remains central to the state politics even 15 years after his death.

Yeduguri Sandinti Rajasekhara Reddy, popularly known as YSR, died in a helicopter crash on September 2, 2009, a few months after he led Congress party to power for a second consecutive term in combined Andhra Pradesh.

Popular for his pro-poor politics, YSR’s sudden death sent shock waves across. His son and Kadapa MP Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, who was keen to succeed his father as the chief minister, defied Congress leadership to undertake ‘Odarpu yatra’ to console families of those who died of shock following YSR’s death.

In November 2010, Jagan Mohan Reddy along with his mother Vijayamma quit Congress, resigned as MP and MLA respectively and floated a new party — Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP).

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Jagan emerged as inheritor of YSR’s political legacy as he won Kadapa Lok Sabha seat in 2011 by-election with a majority of over 5.45 lakh votes. His mother too retained Pulivendula Assembly seat with a huge majority.

In May 2012, Jagan was arrested by the CBI in a disproportionate assets case and sent to jail a few weeks before by-elections.

Though Jagan was in jail, his mother and sister Y.S. Sharmila carried the party campaign and YSRCP emerged as a key force by capturing Nellore Lok Sabha seat and 15 out of 18 Assembly seats in the bypolls.

Bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014 and the public anger in the residuary state wiped out Congress, and YSRCP emerged as the alternative. Though the TDP-BJP alliance came to power in 2014, Jagan’s party became a formidable force and he sustained the party banking on his father’s rich political legacy.

The big moment arrived for Jagan in 2019 as YSRCP stormed to power with a landslide majority. However, cracks appeared in the family with Jagan sidelining his sister Sharmila, who had actively campaigned for the party in 2014 and 2019 polls.

In 2021, Sharmila embarked on a new political journey by floating YSR Telangana Party to cash in on YSR legacy in Telangana. Despite her statewide padyatra and best efforts, the party failed to establish itself. Though she was ready to merge her party with the Congress ahead of the 2023 Assembly polls, the Telangana Congress leadership was not keen and advised her to lead the party in Andhra Pradesh. Stating that defeating KCR is her priority, Sharmila decided to stay away from Telangana polls to avoid a split of anti-BRS votes.

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After the Congress party’s victory, Sharmila had no option but to return to Andhra Pradesh politics by joining Congress. The Gandhi family, which cleared her misunderstanding and told her that they will continue to have huge respect for YSR, succeeded in convincing her to take up the responsibility of reviving Congress in Andhra Pradesh.

Sharmila is now claiming herself to be the real successor of YSR’s political legacy. “YSR has been with Congress for his entire life. His dream was to make Rahul Gandhi the Prime Minister. I will work to fulfil his dream,” she said while targeting her brother for mortgaging the state’s interests by becoming a tool in the hands of the BJP government at the Centre.

Sharmila is likely to enter the fray from the Kadapa Lok Sabha seat, where her cousin Y.S. Avinash Reddy is seeking re-election for a third consecutive term as the YSRCP candidate.

Kadapa Lok Sabha seat has been YSR family’s pocket borough for nearly four decades. YSR was elected from here in 1989, 1991, 1996 and 1998 and when he entered Assembly in 1999, YSR’s younger brother Y.S. Vivekananda Reddy was elected from Kadapa as a Congress candidate. In 2004, Vivekananda Reddy retained the seat.

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After completing first term in power, YSR brought his young son into politics. The young businessman was elected to the Lok Sabha from Kadapa in 2009. However, within a few months the situation underwent a dramatic change with YSR’s tragic death.

Pulivendula, one of the Assembly segments under Kadapa Lok Sabha constituency, has been YSR family’s stronghold for 46 years.

YSR was first elected to the Assembly from here in 1978 and he won every election from here till he moved to the Lok Sabha in 1991. He returned to Pulivendula in 1999 to challenge the TDP government headed by Chandrababu Naidu. He finally succeeded in bringing Congress to power in 2004 after his famous ‘padayatra’ across the state.

YSR’s brothers Y.S. Purushotham Reddy and Vivekananda Reddy were elected from Pulivendula in 1991 and 1994 respectively.

YSR’s wife Vijayamma was elected unopposed in 2010 by-election following his death. She later won the seat in a by-election as YSRCP candidate.

Like his father, Jagan Mohan Reddy also became chief minister while representing Pulivendula.

It remains to be seen how the battle for YSR’s political legacy unfolds when Sharmila takes on Avinash Reddy in Kadapa.

As Avinash Reddy is named as an accused by the CBI in the murder of Vivekananda Reddy, Sharmila will also have the support of Vivekananda Reddy’s daughter Sunitha Reddy, who has been fighting for justice for five years and accusing Jagan of shielding the killers of her father.

–IANS

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Goa CM hails Centre lifting ban on govt employees joining RSS activities

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Goa CM hails Centre lifting ban on govt employees joining RSS activities

Goa CM hails Centre lifting ban on govt employees joining RSS activities

Panaji, July 22 (IANS) Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Monday welcomed the decision of the Central government to lift the ban on government employees who want to take part in Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) programmes.

“I welcome the decision taken by the Union government to withdraw the restrictions on the government employees to participate in the programmes of RSS,” the Chief Minister said.

He said that the unconstitutional restrictions imposed by the then successive Congress government show their reluctance to accept a different view.

“The Bharatiya view must be carried forward. I congratulate the Union government for the decision,” the Chief Minister added.

RSS Goa Chief Rajan Bhobe said that with this decision there will be no fear among government servants to partake in ‘Shakhas’.

“There were no such restrictions earlier also and whoever was willing to work for Sangh, used to engage in programmes of RSS. There were no restrictions. Hence, I don’t find anything to welcome in this decision. People participate in Shakhas on Sundays, wherein we discuss ongoing issues,” Bhobe said.

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He said that the organisation does not allow anyone to work for RSS by taking leave or by remaining absent at their workplace and nobody has done such things in the past.

In November 1966, the Late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi imposed a ban on participation in the RSS affiliated programmes, which was removed on July 9.

–IANS

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Delhi HC judge recuses from hearing Umar Khalid's bail plea in UAPA case

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Delhi HC judge recuses from hearing Umar Khalid's bail plea in UAPA case

Delhi HC judge recuses from hearing Umar Khalid's bail plea in UAPA case

New Delhi, July 22 (IANS) A Delhi High Court judge on Monday recused himself from hearing the bail plea of former JNU scholar and student activist Umar Khalid who is behind bars since September 2020 under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in the “larger conspiracy” case related to the 2020 North-East Delhi riots.

After Justice Amit Sharma withdrew himself from hearing the case, the bench presided over by Justice Prathiba M. Singh directed the matter to be listed before a different combination on July 24 after obtaining approval from the Acting Chief Justice.

Before this, a court here on May 28 had rejected Khalid’s application seeking bail on the grounds of delay in completion of trial proceedings and parity with other co-accused who had been enlarged on bail.

Earlier, a trial court in April 2022 dismissed Khalid’s first bail application, and later his appeal was also rejected by the Delhi High Court.

In February this year, Khalid withdrew his special leave petition filed before the Supreme Court seeking bail due to a “change in circumstances” and sought liberty to apply afresh for bail before the trial court.

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Khalid has been booked under the stringent anti-terror law and several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and has been in custody since September 2020.

–IANS

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MP Sahney demands direct flights to Britain, Canada from Amritsar & Chandigarh

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MP Sahney demands direct flights to Britain, Canada from Amritsar & Chandigarh

MP Sahney demands direct flights to Britain, Canada from Amritsar & Chandigarh

New Delhi, July 22 (IANS) Rajya Sabha MP Vikram Sahney on Monday raised the issue of direct flights to Britain and Canada from Amritsar and Chandigarh airports in the House.

He said lakhs of Punjabis travel to and from Britain and Canada to Punjab.

Minister of State for Civil Aviation Muralidhar Mohol replied that granting points of call to the designated carriers of foreign countries depends on the benefit to the Indian aviation sector, the presence of the Indian diaspora in the country, and the future plans of Indian carriers.

The minister said various airlines of India are free to select destinations they wish to service and operate within the ambit of the bilateral Air Service Agreement (ASA).

Sahney said the government should impress upon carriers like Air India to start more direct flights from Punjab to Britain and Canada and also consider new points of call for any foreign carriers to use the Amritsar and Chandigarh airports as it satisfies the condition of a considerable presence of the Indian diaspora in these countries.

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–IANS

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Sharad Pawar discusses Maratha-OBC quota, woes of milk, sugar producers with Maha CM

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Sharad Pawar discusses Maratha-OBC quota, woes of milk, sugar producers with Maha CM

Sharad Pawar discusses Maratha-OBC quota, woes of milk, sugar producers with Maha CM

Mumbai, July 22 (IANS) NCP(SP) chief Sharad Pawar on Monday met Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and held detailed discussions on issues relating to irrigation, milk prices and the problems faced by sugar producers in Maharashtra.

In addition, the senior Pawar reportedly raised the ongoing protests by Maratha and OBC communities over the contentious reservation issue.

The Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) confirmed the meeting between Sharad Pawar and CM Shinde.

“They discussed issues concerning irrigation, milk prices, and sugar factories,” the CMO said.

These are critical issues currently faced by the agriculture and dairy sectors in the state.

Sharad Pawar last week had extended his support to the agitating milk producing farmers who are demanding Rs 40 per litre for milk, implementation of Fair and Remunerative Price and Revenue Sharing policies for the dairy sector, curbing milk adulteration and reducing the prices of cattle feed.

The NCP(SP) supremo had assured the agitating farmers that he would meet CM Shinde and take up these issues for an early resolution to their woes.

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Sharad Pawar has also sought the Maharashtra government’s intervention to help the sugarcane growers who are facing financial problems as they cannot export surplus sugar.

Sharad Pawar pressed the Mahayuti government to take up the matter on a priority basis with the Centre for an early resolution.

Meanwhile, Sharad Pawar is believed to have sought information with regard to the discussion between CM Shinde and pro-Maratha activist Manoj Jarange Patil on the Maratha reservation issue.

Besides, Sharad Pawar also asked for the details pertaining to the talks held between a group of ministers and OBC leaders with regard to the quota issue.

The senior Pawar’s move to raise the reservation issue comes days after NCP minister and Samta Parishad chief, Chhagan Bhujbal sought his mediation to address the present stalemate over the reservation issue.

Sharad Pawar had assured Bhujbal that he would discuss the issue with CM Shinde.

CM Shinde has briefed him about the line of action on Jarange-Patil’s demand for the execution of draft “sage-soyare” notification that recognises Kunbis as blood relatives of the Maratha community members.

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The discussion on the Maratha quota issue coincided with the fresh indefinite fast launched by Jarange Patil from last week.

–IANS

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Lalu Prasad demands Nitish Kumar’s resignation after Centre rejects Bihar’s special status

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Lalu Prasad demands Nitish Kumar’s resignation after Centre rejects Bihar’s special status

Lalu Prasad demands Nitish Kumar’s resignation after Centre rejects Bihar’s special status

Patna, July 22 (IANS) After the Central government turned down the special status for Bihar, RJD Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

“Centre has refused to give the special status to Bihar so Nitish Kumar should resign from his post. We will fight for special status at any cost,” the RJD Chief said.

He also criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi over not granting special status to Bihar.

“PM Modi and Nitish Kumar shamelessly gave Bihar a ‘Jhunjhuna’ (toy). If not the status of a special state, then give anything to Bihar in the name of a special package! JD-U bowed down to BJP,” he wrote on X.

The demand for special status for Bihar has been a recurring issue, with various leaders from the Janata Dal (United) advocating for it.

JD-U Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Jha had brought up the issue in an all-party meeting, stating that the Central government should either grant special state status or arrange for a special package for Bihar.

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Similarly, JD-U MP Rampreet Mandal raised the issue in the Lok Sabha, emphasising that special state status is essential for promoting economic development and industrialisation in backward states.

Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, the Water Resource Minister of Bihar, said, “We have a longstanding demand of special status for Bihar but if any technicalities arise in it, Centre should consider at least a special package for a backward state like Bihar.”

–IANS

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