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After Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, it was TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu who landed up in Uttarakhand to rescue and fly back pilgrims from Andhra
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The Ultimate PR

It is being termed the ultimate PR exercise. Politicians belonging to non-Congress parties flying into Uttarakhand and helping airlift stranded flood-hit victims to their home States. After Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi did the needful for fellow Gujaratis by rushing to their rescue and flying them back, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu followed his example. Back from a trip to the US, Naidu flew straight to Delhi and then to Dehradun, overlooking rescue operations and ensuring the safe return of rescued victims. He hired a chartered flight to fly Telugus back home, met many of them in AP Bhavan and even called on Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna asking him to look into the welfare of people from AP. Naidu flew in a team of doctors from Hyderabad to camp at AP Bhavan who are treating the flood-hit. The fact that officials of AP Bhavan did not allow them to enter the building seemed to be in bad taste. This was because Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy was due to arrive at the AP Bhavan around the same time. But it was evident that Naidu stole the thunder from Kiran Kumar in the whole issue. Naidu has been hyperactive, meeting victims, providing medical help, food, shelter, assuring them of financial help and transporting them back to their homes. As a result, several of the AP pilgrims are seen on TV channels, singing praises of Naidu rather than Kiran Kumar. This rescue act has shored up points for Chandrababu Naidu, grumble Congress leaders. One remembers the time when after the Orissa super cyclone in 1999, it was Naidu who rushed to the aid of a clueless Orissa government, proving his administrative prowess. At the time too, victims could not stop gushing about Naidu. The TDP has even started a helpline for the victims at the NTR Trust Bhavan in Hyderabad.  And now 10 days after the tragedy, as Kiran Kumar undertakes a much delayed trip to AP Bhavan to interact with pilgrims, people couldn't care less. It is too little, too late. But this competition in rescue operations has helped flood victims tremendously who were otherwise running from pillar to post in the first few days.

Permit Rooms

The Kiran Kumar government continues to bewilder citizens with its strange decisions. In its new excise policy, the state government has given the nod for liquor shops to have 'permit rooms' or annexes where consumers can sit and drink. Such permit rooms will be allowed in municipalities and municipal corporations like Hyderabad, Vizag, Vijayawada and Tirupati from July 1. The state government says liquor shops in villages with a population of 5,000 were allowed to have such sit-in rooms since 2009. So it is extending the good deed to larger areas as well. The move has shocked anti-liquor activists and women who find it difficult to even walk past liquor shops for fear of rowdy behaviour. In villages, it is a different matter because they have no bars and there are few women on the street at late hours. Women's rights activists say that almost every rape, murder, rash driving case is caused by liquor and such moves by the state government will only enhance the crime bar graph.

Shocking Crime 

In a recent case of shocking crime, unidentified robbers broke into a building in Rajahmundry where cash meant for 20 SBI ATMs was stocked and stole Rs 7.35 crore. The building was rented by the Scientific System Management company and had miserable security to say the least. The robbers killed the security in-charge P Srinivas by hanging him and making it look like suicide. The other security guard was on leave and the building had no alarm system. The footage of the closed circuit cameras were also taken away by the robbers. What's more, robbers sprinkled chilli powder all over the floor to throw sniffer dogs off the scent. Many officials are questioning the wisdom of State Bank of India appointing a private agency to stock such huge amounts of cash and that too with such limited security.

The Foreign Hand

While the Congress lampoons Chandrababu Naidu of trying to gain political mileage from the Uttarakhand tragedy, the YSR Congress party has taken a different route. It wants Naidu's foreign trips, which are reportedly being undertaken to mobilise funds for the elections, to be probed. "Naidu has been on foreign tours before the 2004 and 2009 and 2009 elections as well and his recent US tour, though termed as personal, fits into the pattern of routing money from offshore to fund the elections back home and we demand a thorough investigation into all his foreign trips from 1995," party leader Janak Prasad demands. 

“We demand that the State and Central governments investigate his foreign tours and the reported allegation that he has been raising funds from foreign soil and routing them to the country through illegal means,” he said. The drama he enacted at Delhi on the Uttarakhand tragedy carries no conviction as he left the locals in the lurch and placed personal interests ahead of the people’s problems of the state. Naidu has been frequently visiting Israel, Dubai, Singapore and other places. He is desperate this time and is going all out to route more funds, he said.

Attacking union minister K Chiranjeevi, Janak Prasad says, “the film-star turned politician's remarks against YS Jagan Mohan Reddy terming him a leader steeped in corruption are unsavoury. When there was cache of Rs 40 crore in the house of his kin, the case was swept under the carpet. With the investigation agencies unable to prove a single charge against YS Jagan Mohan Reddy during the past one-and-a-half years, Chiranjeevi’s statement is just out of place."Leader is only accused and is in judicial custody. The Minister should know legal terms properly before speaking out in the public." 

Telugu Desam leaders, however, scoff at the accusations saying that since "Jagan is himself an economic offender who used offshore companies in Mauritius and Seychelles to launder his ill-gotten black money, he sees everyone through the same prism."

Chocolate on a Platter

TRS leader and MP Vijayashanti denies all rumours that party president K Chandrasekhar Rao is likely to contest the next elections from her Medak seat. Speaking to mediapersons on her 49th birthday on June 24, the actress-turned-politician said she has struggled hard for the people of her constituency. "Medak is my breath and Telangana my life. The Medak Lok Sabha seat is not a chocolate to be given to anybody else on a platter. It is me who will contest from here." Wonder what her mentor and party chief KCR will have to say about that.

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