Congress to go it alone in polls: YSR
‘Decision on Telangana to be announced by high command before polls’
Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy on Monday announced that the Congress would face the ensuing Lok Sabha and Assembly elections alone and a decision on Telangana would be announced by the party high command before the polls.
The party’s stand on the statehood issue would be included in the manifesto. He ruled out the possibility of moving a resolution in this regard in the State Legislative Assembly and made it clear that the party was not going back from its promise made in the Common Minimum Programme.
Talking to mediapersons here after holding discussions on the electoral strategy with AICC president Sonia Gandhi and senior leaders, including Pranab Mukherjee, A.K. Antony, Ahmed Patel and Veerappa Moily, Dr. Reddy said facing the polls was not new or difficult for the Congress as it had done so previously barring the 2004 Assembly/Lok Sabha polls. In the 1989 polls, despite a combination of BJP-TDP-Left parties opposing the party, it was able to win 39 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the State. Even the ‘Chiranjeevi factor’ would have no impact on the Congress’ prospects, he said.
The Chief Minister admitted that there was a difference of opinion among party leaders on the Telangana issue with some supporting it and others opposing it and he had no personal opinion on the matter. He chided the Left parties and TDP for joining hands with the TRS keeping their policies and ideologies aside.
Asked whether he would accept TRS into the Congress fold if the high command accepted Telangana and TRS wanted to come back, he said he did not want to answer a hypothetical question. He hinted at re-adjustments in seat distribution and said the choice would be for better candidates in some constituencies. APCC president D. Srinivas, who too was in Delhi on Saturday and Sunday, was not present at the press conference and there were reports that he did not join Dr. Reddy when he met Ms. Gandhi on Sunday and Mr. Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday.
I’m not responsible for Raju’s rise: YSR
“Projection given by Naidu helped him get good business”
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy on Monday dismissed the allegations of his political foes on the Satyam episode and said: “I am not responsible for the growth of its erstwhile chairman B. Ramalinga Raju in the industry.”
According to him, by the time he assumed office in 2004, Mr. Raju had already risen to a very high level in the corporate world. The ‘projection’ given by TDP president and former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, who made Mr. Raju sit next to the then visiting U.S. President Bill Clinton at a function in Hyderabad, helped him get good business.
Even Tata group chairman Ratan Tata and Ramoji group chairman Ch. Ramoji Rao, who was close to Mr. Naidu, were made to sit with the audience and not on the stage. “That sort of projection helped Raju,” Dr. Reddy told journalists here.
However he would not say that Mr. Naidu was aware of the things (fraud) in the company and fudging of its accounts. No one could say that because of some political patronage Raju climbed up the ladder.
Customers, shareholders and the 53,000 technocrats working in the Satyam group were satisfied and happy about the efforts taken by the Central and State governments in the “mind-boggling episode which has brought discredit to the nation.”
The issue in no way would affect the electoral prospects of either the ruling UPA at the Centre or the Congress in the State.
Went by audit report
To a specific question how the government awarded contracts for various big projects to the Satyam group as it was involved in a big scam, he said one went by the audit report.
In this case, a reputed audit firm had given certification about the financial stability of the group “knowingly or unknowingly.” It was not possible for the government to check the bank statement of every individual firm participating in the tender process.
On Maytas bagging big projects including the Hyderabad Metro Rail and allocation of 7,800 acres to it, Dr. Reddy said the “government has no role at all” with the land allocation to Maytas and the land was given only to different companies. They in turn could have given it to Maytas. Even in the Metro project, the Maytas was given the contract only after they participated in the global tender and passed technical and financial bids.
“No one can allege that there is any irregularity in awarding contract to the firm.”
Stability to be assessed
The State government would evaluate the stability of the firm in view of the latest developments and decide whether to go ahead with it or not.
Dr. Reddy said every effort would be made to find out the truth in the scam and the government would not allow the guilty to escape. He was ready even for a CBI probe.
Padayatra for YSR’s re-election
Youth Congress functionaries set off on a padayatra from Proddatur to Tirumala on Monday praying for re-election of Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy’s government and Proddatur MLA N. Varadarajulu Reddy. YC leader Meruva Murthy and others offered prayers at Sivalayam in Proddatur.
Chief Minister to tour Allagadda, Dhone today
Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy will take part in a host of programmes at Allagadda and Dhone in Kurnool district on Tuesday.
Dr. Reddy, who will land at Allagadda around 11 a.m., will inaugurate the junior and degree college buildings, Rs. 5 crore Rural Water Supply scheme at Harinagaram, Indiramma Housing complex at Lower Ahobilam, R&B bridge at Padakandla and MPDO’s office before addressing the public meeting and distributing assets worth Rs. 10 crore.
The Chief Minister will land at Dhone at 2.10 p.m. and inaugurate the Gurukula Residential Building for girls costing Rs. 3 crore, inauguration of two colonies, foundation for housing colony, and unveil the statue of Kotla Vijayabhaskar Reddy.
Polavaram: Soz assurance to YSR
Technical Advisory Committee to meet today and discuss clearance to project
Union Water Resources Minister Saifuddin Soz gave an assurance to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy that his Ministry would extend ‘full help and cooperation’ for the clearance of the Polavaram multi-purpose project on the Godavari. Opposition States of Orissa and Chattisgarh are objecting to the project on the ground that it involves huge submergence in their region.
Mr. Soz gave the assurance to Dr. Reddy when he called on him on Monday ahead of the meeting of the Technical Advisory Committee — that gives approvals for water projects—on Tuesday.
Dr. Reddy informed Mr. Soz that the State had received approvals from the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, as well as the Ministry of Environment and Forests for the project.
According to sources, the Andhra Pradesh government had given an assurance that it would set aside Rs. 600 crore for creating embankments before construction of the project to protect areas in Orissa and Chattisgarh from submergence. The Central Water Commission has also advised the State to modify the operation schedule of the dam before the actual construction of the project in consultation with the Orissa and Chattisgarh.
Polavaram is a multi-purpose project that envisages irrigation to 7.21 lakh acres in the upward areas of West Godavari, Krishna, East Godavari and Vishakhampatnam districts. It will also provide industrial and drinking water to these districts.
An inter-State agreement signed among the three States (including erstwhile Madhya Pradesh) in 1980 intended to limit the upstream submergence in the territories of Orissa and Chattisgarh. Neither Orissa nor Chatttisgarh are beneficiaries in the project that is part of the Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal Award. The Andhra Pradesh government has approached the Supreme Court for a speedy approval to the project. Union Water Resources Secretary heads the TAC with representation from the Central Water Commission, Ministries of Environment, Tribal Affairs, Finance and the Planning Commission. If the TAC approves the Rs. 14,000 crore projects, it would be referred to the Planning Commission for investment clearance.
The Chief Minister also sought the status of a national project for Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Pranahita Chevella Sujala Sravanti Project and the Polavaram Project under Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP). The Pranahita Chevella Sujala Sravanti Project envisages irrigation of 16.4 lakh acres in drought prone areas including the Telangana region. The project cost is estimated at Rs. 38,500 crore.
The State wants these projects to be included under AIBP under Centre-State 90:10 funding pattern respectively, pending approval for their inclusion as national projects. The State government has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on this.
Prof. Soz said that the CWC needed clarifications on certain technical and inter-state issues on these projects.