Hyderabad: All India Congress Committee (AICC) Spokesperson Dr. Dasoju Sravan described the phone call made by Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao to a farmer of Mancherial to resolve a land dispute as an election drama which later turned out be a misadventure and also an illegal move.
Addressing a press conference at Gandhi Bhavan on Thursday, Sravan said that the Chief Minister’s phone call drama was enacted to divert people’s attention from the humiliating defeat of TRS-backed candidates in MLC elections. He pointed out that the farmer, Kondapalli Sharath, went live on Facebook from in front of the tahsildar’s office at Nellela on March 18 complaining that his family was being deprived of their land by a local revenue official. But after nine days on March 27, KCR responded and gave it a feel as if it was a quick reaction. The Mancherial District Collector was made to rush to Sharath’s residence within half-an-hour to resolve the issue and one VRO and a Revenue Inspector were also suspended. “It was a cheap publicity stunt. KCR tried to give an impression as if he was a Nizam and he could make things happen by issuing an oral ‘Firman’,” he said.
“Chief Minister never comes to the Secretariat. Nearly 30-40,000 files pertaining to various portfolios handled by KCR are pending. Common people have no access to his official residence Pragathi Bhavan. Even ministers, MLAs and MLCs cannot enter Pragathi Bhavan without prior permission. However, in view of forthcoming Lok Sabha elections and just to dilute the defeat of TRS-backed candidates in MLC elections, the entire drama was enacted,” Sravan said adding that the entire episode ended in anti-climax as the complaint turned out to be a family dispute. He said another lady, Jyothi, released a video on social media alleging that injustice was done to her family as Chief Minister took one-sided decision without even enquiring into the matter.
Sravan said as per the Telangana Rights on Land and Pattadar Passbook Act 1971, a procedure needs to be followed to resolve a dispute. However, he said it was strange that the District Collector, who is an IAS officer, gave preference to the CM’s orders than following the rules. He said it was mandatory for the authorities to give 15-day notice before making changes in the Pattadar Book. Therefore, what was done at the Chief Minister’s instance was illegal, he said.
He said common people should not be made to suffer due to delays. But, instant decisions cannot be implemented just for the sake of publicity while setting aside the Law, Rules and Procedures. He said that the issue has also exposed the fact that much hyped Dharani website was defunct, deficient and full of errors.
The AICC Spokesperson said that the previous UPA Government had proposed Title Guarantee Act in 2011 and wanted all States to place details of land titles in public domain for three years. It also advised them to constitute an Authority at the District and State levels to address the objections and claims. However, he said that the Telangana Government die not implement the Act and the survey was not done as more than 50% of VRAs are still vacant. He said that the claims of TRS Govt over land rectification and cleaning also proved to be hollow as there were still thousands of disputes over titles. He said that the State Government had allocated Rs. 1,000 crore in two budgets for land survey and also got some Central funds. However, those funds remained unutilised. He said KCR’s bid to highlight himself as a responsive Chief Minister went against him with people understanding that he was doing a publicity student.
The Congress leader said that the results of MLC elections would be replicated in Lok Sabha and the Congress party would win a majority of seats. He said that the TRS slogan of ‘Sir, Car, Padaharu’ has now changed to ‘Sir, Car, Puncture’.
“Sravan writes to EC over inaction against Telangana CEO’
Sravan also informed that he has written a letter to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora over the biased functioning of election authorities in Telangana. “The ECI was quick to transfer Intelligence Department IG AB Venkateswara Rao, Srikakulam SP Venkataratnam and Kadapa SP Rahuldev Sarma when it received a complaint from the YSRCP. However, the Election Commission ignored similar complaints lodged by the Congress party in Telangana. The election authorities, especially Chief Electoral Officer Rajath Kumar, have been acting in a partisan manner and ignoring the violation of Model Code of Conduct to favour the ruling TRS. Rajat Kumar confessed of deletion of over 22 lakh eligible voters and also apologise for the same. But the ECI took no action against him,” Sravan said in his letter.
“The Election Commission is yet to come up with a convincible reply for the delay in announcing the voting percentage which was announced more than 24 hours after the end of polling. It is still silent on the mismatch of numbers of actual votes polled and those counted in EVMs in all 119 constituencies of Telangana State. This gives rise to the suspicion that EVMs were either tampered or manipulated to turn the results in favour of ruling TRS party. On February 9, 2019, the Vikarabad Collector was placed under suspension for opening EVMs and deletion of data pertaining to Vikarabad constituency. Although the result of Vikarabad was already challenged in the court, would it not have been appropriate if the ECI would have ordered re-poll. Similarly, no action was taken on the complaints of tampering of EVMs and missing of VVPATS slips pertaining to Jubilee Hills Assembly constituency,” Sravan said.
Sravan appealed to the Chief Election Commissioner to go through the entire list of complaints lodged by the opposition parties since Assembly elections and take appropriate action on immediate basis. “This is essential to restore the dignity of a democratic institution like ECI, which till a time ago people used to consider as independent and fair,” he said.