July 27, 2021
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Andhra Pradesh

Poll Pickles

From NTR Jr's nuisance value to golden lures for voters, from competition for the MIM to doctored video tapes of opposition candidates, from tickets on sale to squabbling allies, it's all heating up in Andhra Pradesh

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Poll Pickles
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Nuisance value

Telugu Cine star NTR Junior has a nuisance value too! And who could have known it better than the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief Chandrababu Naidu? The 27-year-old cine star had abruptly stopped the election campaign in one of the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh protesting the denial of assembly ticket to his producer-friend Vamsi Mohan from Gunnavaram. The ticket was given to another senior politician, purportedly, at the behest of NTR junior's father, Hari Krishna. The star campaigner has been evoking tremendous response from the crowd for his unmatched oratorical skills and anti-government comments during his road shows across the state. The abrupt halt of the campaign, which was at its peak, had created a flutter in the TDP camp. The star refused to resume the road show until the TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu assured him that the grievance of his producer-friend would be taken care of.

Goldinda! Goldinda!

Chant of Govinda, Govinda….. is to invoke Lord Balaji. But political parties in the temple town of Tirupati have diligently coined a slogan to suit their campaign; writes The Times of India in its Hyderabad edition of March 27, 2009: "Instead of the usual chant of Govinda Govinda in this temple town of Tirupati, candidates in the fray from the assembly constituency are chanting "Goldinda! Goldinda!" (here’s gold, here’s gold) to woo the electorate -- over 50 per cent of them being women -- by playing the ‘divine sentiment’ to the hilt. ‘Moving away from doling out traditional gifts like saris, rings and nose pins to women voters, the candidates are now harping on offering gold dollars of Lord Balaji, from cellar darshan tickets and Kalyanamastu-type free marriages. The newspaper quoted sources saying that the contestants were keen to cash in on the ‘Lord of riches’ by showering celestial gifts to women."

Supremacy challenged

Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) which for years has been an undisputed representative of the people of old Hyderabad has now something to worry about in the ensuing elections. Zaid Ali Khan, a senior journalist and an editor of the Urdu daily Siasat has thrown his hat in the ring challenging his old rival and the president of MIM Asaduddin Oawaisi, a sitting MP from the old Hyderabad constituency. Zaid's entry into the fray has made the MIM circumspect. Observers say that it is for the first that they have seen the MIM President trudging door-to-door campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections. Zaid, who is known for being associated with a number of philanthropic organisation is confident: "I would not only get the support from Muslims, the Hindus would also come forward in my support." 

Its a dirty game!

The hate campaign being run in the name of elections has turned from bad to worse in Andhra Pradesh which is going in for simultaneous Assembly and Lok Sabha polls in the state. At the receiving end is the TDP fire-brand and former actress Roja, who is a Telugu Desam nominee for Chandragiri Assembly constituency in Chittoor district. After verbal duels on television channels which often bordered on plain abuse, an MMS purportedly showing the veteran actress and a stranger in a compromising position started doing the rounds. The five-minute clip is being circulated over mobile phones not in one city or town but the entire state. However, the video appears to be 'doctored' in a bid to damage the image of the actress-turned-politician, who had recently hit headlines for her virulent attack on Chjiranjeevi-led Praja Rajyam Party and the Congress, reports The New Indian Express in its March 30 Hyderabad edition.


Ticket on sale!

Seat allotment crisis is far from over in Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS). The party workers are venting their ire on the senior leaders by resorting to violence damaging party offices and other properties owned by the TRS. The crisis deepened further following an allegation by one of its workers Samala Venkat Reddy that he had paid Rs 10 crore to buy an Assembly ticket from one of the constituencies in Telangana region. Though Venkat has now been trying to underplay the issue saying that its all in the family, the allegation was enough for the Election Commission to announce inquiry into the issue suo moto. The incident has embarrassed the grand alliance "Mahakootami" comprising TDP, CPM, CPI and the TRS in Andhra Pradesh.

Whose seat is it anyway?

And that is not all that is wrong with the Mahakootami. With alliance partners fielding candidates in constituencies reserved for others, the very purpose of the alliance, of keeping the anti-Congress vote consolidated, seems to be getting defeated. First you had TRS fielding candidates in seats reserved for the TDP and CPM. And then CPM retaliated by fielding four more than its allotted quota and to top it all, a livid TDP has joined the fray, with Naidu asking his partymen to file nominations in 15 assembly and three Lok Sabha constituencies...



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