Bureaucrats in Telangana state are being kept on their toes by Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy who is fast being viewed as a workaholic with him making it clear that it is 18 hours of work a day or else. After the hectic election campaign, there were some in the Secretariat who hoped that Revanth would take a break of sorts but that was not to be. Taking just a single day’s break on May 14, after polling ended on May 13, the Chief Minister was back at work on May 15 and the hopes among bureaucrats and officials in the Secretariat that since the election code will be in force until counting of votes on June 4, the Chief Minister could probably go easy, were dashed — with Revanth back to holding review meetings with several departments each day. This was enough to force some bureaucrats who had scheduled vacations to cancel their plans and return to work, with several recalling how Revanth, at his very first meeting with district collectors, police superintendents and secretaries of all departments in December last, made it clear that he would work 18 hours a day and expected the same from officials.


Politicians are tough nuts to crack. Very little fazes them, given the aplomb with which they confront their opponents, or issues, whether such issues are based on facts or not. But even these tough guys sometimes are forced to throw in the towel. For BRS working president K.T. Rama Rao, such a moment came during a campaign rally in Huzurabad for BRS’ Karimnagar candidate B. Vinod Kumar. It wasn’t some tougher guy who did this to KTR but a paper confetti gun operator who, in his enthusiasm, kept blasting away load after load of pink paper strips aimed at him. This finally forced KTR to beg the person doing so to stop, saying, “He gave himself this job of repeatedly blasting in my face. Please stop, I am begging you, and I promise that you will be paid your charges.”


For most part, elections, particularly ones with long-drawn campaigns, can get tiring, especially for those in the fray. With victory being the ultimate price, the point becomes that winning is all that matters and there is never any dearth of mumbo jumbo allegations doing the rounds. And so it turns out that the hot topic in Tadepalligudem is that the two contenders in the fray, belonging to the YSRC and the Jana Sena, resorted to invoking “unseen forces” using black magic to weaken each other. Whispers did the rounds after Jana Sena’s Bolisetty Srinivas would find himself out of steam at the end of the day and that this was attributed to YSRC’s Katta Satyanarayana unleashing some black magic on his opponent. So, it was the turn of gossip-mongers to say that when Satayanarayana began exhibiting the same symptoms at the end of the day during the campaign that the same forces were somehow used against him by the Jana Sena candidate. For all one knows, it could just have been the hot summer sun that laid a couple of leaders in AP low during the campaigning but gossip is a hard mill to put brakes on to.


Two states, two votes? It is possible that this was a reason why the turnout of voters in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad was poor, rued BJP state president and Union minister G. Kishan Reddy the other day. His reasoning was that since Andhra Pradesh also went to polls to pick a new Legislative Assembly the same day, people who were voters in that state left for Andhra Pradesh, leaving their votes unused in Telangana. But when it was pointed out that having two votes in two places is illegal, Kishan Reddy sought to extricate himself with a long-winded explanation of how Andhra Pradesh voters may have gone to their native places to watch the polling trends as they have voting rights in the twin cities and Telangana state.


The local election season has turned into a spectacle for the community, with Pithapuram district in AP taking the lead in entertainment value. Both candidates vying for leadership in Pithapuram have inadvertently become the stars of the show. Pawan Kalyan, representing the Jana Sena and contesting from Pithapuram, made headlines when he requested a printout from election officials after casting his vote, resulting in a viral video of the incident. Similarly, Vanga Geeta, YSRC contender from Pithapuram, had her own moment of unexpected drama when a stranger approached her to advocate voting for the glass symbol of the Jana Sena. Geeta was not stumped at this but these interactions have gone viral with video clips doing the rounds furiously.


Pre-poll bluster has a shelf life. Once the voting is over, leaders have nothing more to say to one another and have little to do other than twiddle their thumbs and wait for the results. Two such leaders in Andhra Pradesh — minister R.K. Roja and former minister P. Anil Kumar Yadav — who constantly made news before the voting on May 13, have gone silent despite their established image as rabble-rousers for their party. While Yadav hasn’t said much other than claiming that the police helped the TD voters during polling, and Roja alleging that her own YSRC workers worked against her in Nagari constituency, these two have, for now, appear to have decided to lie low, given the popular perception that their party, the YSRC, may not have found favour among voters this time round.

Contributions from Avinash P. Subramanyam, Neeraj Kumar, Laxmi Pranathi, Vadrevu Srinivas, Balu Pulipaka.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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