Wednesday, 20 April 2005

Babu reverses his philosophy, forms student wing of Telugu Desam

April 20, 2005
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, April 19: In a reversal of his avowed philosophy to keep students away from politics, former chief minister and Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu on Tuesday announced the formation of a student wing of the Telugu Desam to "cleanse" murky politics in the State.
The Telugu Nadu Students' Federation, the official students' wing of the Telugu Desam, will be in place in all universities and colleges by June 1, well ahead of the start of the next academic session. The TNSF will have student committees in all major educational institutions in the State to serve as a "back-up" political force for the parent Telugu Desam.
Donning the role of a professor of politics, Chandrababu Naidu took a class of about 1000 students at NTR Bhavan, reminding them of them their "political responsibilities" and teaching them how to stop ragging on campuses and fighting against murky politics. He also taught them how they should behave with co-students and wage a war against social evils.
Chandrababu Naidu, right from the day he took over as the chief minister on September 1, 1995, had been against students joining politics or playing an active role in political parties. His argument then was that politics will destroy the bright career of students. Now that he is out of power, Chandrababu Naidu has realised the importance of "student force" for a political party to strengthen its base.
The result is the reincarnation of the Telugu Vidyarthi, which Chandrababu Naidu scrapped about nine years ago, in the form of Telugu Nadu Students Federation. Chandrababu Naidu's TNSF will now take by horns the CPI's AISF, CPM's SFI and Congress' NSUI both inside and outside the campus.
Though Chandrababu Naidu himself was a student leader in his college and university life, he never encouraged students from taking to politics. According to NTR Bhavan sources, the sudden U turn in Chandrababu Naidu's political philosophy is the threat of civic body elections. Chandrababu Naidu's internal party assessment shows that the TD is going to fare badly in municipal polls and hence he is playing the student card well in advance of the hustings, a senior TD leader told this correspondent.
The next 12 months are crucial for the Telugu Desam as the party has to get ready for civic body polls in September and local body elections in June 2006. The political game plan of the Telugu Desam is to train students, particularly those of universities and professional colleges, and use them as a political force to boost its electoral politics.
The Telugu Desam has 11 affiliated organisations and the TNSF is the 12th in the line.

Monday, 18 April 2005

Chandrababu Naidu says he will not allow his wife Bhuvaneswari to enter politics

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, April 18: Former chief minister and Telugu Desam supremo N Chandrababu Naidu on Monday said a firm no to the proposal from some party leaders that he bring his wife Bhuvaneswari into politics.
According to NTR Bhavan sources, Chandrababu Naidu made it clear in no uncertain terms that his wife or for that matter his son Lokesh would enter politics. The TD supremo was reacting to the suggestion of senior TD leader and former minister N Prasanna Kumar Reddy and some others that Chandrababu Naidu shift to Delhi with his Third Front and rope in Bhuvaneswari into State politics.
Prasanna Kumar, who created ripples in the TD circles with the suggestion in his open letter to Chandrababu Naidu a couple of days ago, called on the TD chief to "explain" his position. Prasanna Kumar reportedly told Chandrababu Naidu that he came up with the suggestion with "pure intentions" and he meant what he said. "I did not suggest it just to create some controversy or to put you in trouble. I mean no insult to you when I wrote in the letter that you better concentrate on Delhi politics", he is said to have explained to the party president.
Reacting sharply to the suggestion, Chandrababu Naidu is understood to have told Prasanna Kumar that Bhuvaneswari would not enter politics and he would continue to concentrate on Andhra politics even while playing a key role at the national level.

Book Review: Upendra tells all in "Gatam Swagatam"

Syed Akbar

Synopsis of the Book "Gatam Swagatam" (Welcome Past -- Part - II)
By Parvataneni Upendra, former Union Minister

I wrote this book as a clarification to the allegation that I was instrumental in nine TD MPs abstaining from voting to save the PV Narasimha Rao government in 1992. I was expelled from the TD on this charge. People have welcomed my book as a factual record.

Fourteen years have passed since I wrote the book. Several political changes took place in the country. Single party rule is now over. It is the time of coalition politics. The economic reforms undertaken by PV Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh in 1991 have put the country on the path of progress. India achieved a lot because of this initiative.

N Chandrababu exaggerated his policies and programmes both at the national and the international level through media blitzkrieg.

There are two parts in my book. The first part, published earlier, is a serial of events in my life. Now I am presenting the second part. The first past is a 55 years of record. the second part is just a compilation of the memories of 14 years from 1992.

At the personal level my activities have become slow. There are no sensational issues in this book. I have divided the book into several chapters. No chronology of events followed. It is self-explanatory.

I was expelled from the TD on March 12, 1992. I was declared the next day as independent MP in the Rajya Sabha. Then I started cooperating the PV Narasimha Rao government. I helped PV a lot in the selection of the President, vice-president and the Speaker.

The TD lost majority in RS in April 1994 with its strength coming down to three. Then I gather the support of independent MLAs and smaller parties and with 15 members we formed united parliamentary group. We got recognition for our party.

I was invited by Advani for breakfast. He asked me I could join the party. Vajpayee, Murli Manohar Joshi and Sikandar Bakht were present.

When reports appeared in the Press that I am joining the BJP, Narasimha Rao sent his confidant The Hindustan Times special correspondent Kalyani Shankar.

K Vijayabhaskar Reddy became the chief minister on October 9, 1992. He was my well wisher. He helped me in joining the Congress. PV ruled for five years. He was an astute ruler. He introduced economic reforms. Manmohan Singh's entry into PV Cabinet changed the whole economic scenario in the country. Reforms like Panchayat Raj and Nagarpalika amendments introduced. The Opposition though created hurdles, PV could overcome them successfully. Mandal Commission report was fully implemented during the PV rule. The rule was also marred by demolition of Babri Masjid.

PV once remarked: Every action has a reaction and that reaction is normally bad. Why should one rush to get that negative reaction> We will take a decision when it is inevitable.

NTR dethroned

Lakshmi Parvathi's marriage was a turning point in NTR's life. In 1994 elections held on December 10 the TD won 219 seats. On December 12, NTR became the Chief Minister for the fourth time. In 1995 July Harikrishna developed differences with NTR. On August 17 NTR went on a north Andhra tour.

Third Front

During the BJP rule did the nation really shine. NDA government ran simply on the individual charisma and strength of Vajpayee. The rule was marred by poverty, rising prices, closure of industries and inflation. The book also deals with the entry of Sonia Gandhi into politics and the election of the President and the vice-president in 1992.

Friday, 15 April 2005

Babu wraps NTR Bhavan in cloak of secrecy

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, April 15: Former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu's transparency mantra has vanished into thin air as NTR Bhavan is cloaked in secrecy, both for political and security reasons.
The freely accessible Telugu Desam State headquarters at Banjara Hills has turned into a virtual fortress with Chandrababu Naidu deciding to keep away mediapersons from all TD meetings which he presides. After losing power in May last year, the TD supremo has limited the presence of mediapersons at NTR Bhavan to just press conferences and social get-togethers. There are no more "off the record" briefings at the party office.
Added to the "political decision" of the TD State leadership is the "security consideration" by the State police, who have fortified the entire NTR Bhavan with high-rise walls and electric fence with armed guards on vigil round the clock. NTR Bhavan has become virtually inaccessible to the common man after the failure of peace talks between the State government and Maoists in January. A new entrance is being constructed to screen every visitor to the office.
Earlier, Chandrababu Naidu, who chanted the mantra of transparency and "open politics" for 10 years, used to invite journalists to each and every political meeting at NTR Bhavan. He solicited the presence of media even at Telugu Desam Parliamentary Party, Telugu Desam Legislature Party and TD State executive meetings. The only event wherein journalists were not allowed then was the politburo meeting.
The TD was the only political party in the country to hold important party meetings in the presence of journalists. Chandrababu Naidu even ensured that all these programmes were telecast live. And there were instances of some TV channels stationing their OB Vans at TD State office for weeks together. The TD leadership has given a go-by to "official briefings" of important party meetings.
When Chandrababu Naidu was in power, cops from the State Intelligence Department and Central Intelligence Bureau used to move freely on the premises of the TD headquarters, partaking lunch and dinner at the party office canteen. Now they have been curtly told not to enter into the building.
The sudden change in the political thinking of the TD supremo within a few months of losing power has taken even Telugu Desam leaders by surprise. According to NTR Bhavan sources, now that the TD is no longer in power Chandrababu Naidu wants to keep his party's strategy and political decisions secret so that he could take on the ruling Congress more effectively.

Friday, 8 April 2005

Chandrababu Naidu becomes a "poet", pens Ugadi Kavita

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, April 8: Telugu Desam supremo N Chandrababu Naidu might have decided to distance his party from the BJP, but he has drawn enough inspiration from veteran BJP leader AB Vajpayee to express the poet in his heart.
Chandrababu Naidu has penned a "Ugadi Kavita" on the eve of the Telugu New Year to express his heartiest greetings to Telugus residing all over the globe. In a 12-verse Ugadi greetings personally signed by him, the former chief minister wishes people good health, peace and prosperity. Chandrababu Naidu adopted the freesytle Telugu poetry with free verse. The poetry is sent as a greeting to select group of people on Babu's letterhead.
Ten months after losing power, Chandrababu Naidu is slowly acclamatising himself to arts, culture and poetry, leaving aside his favourite information technology. Only last week, the TD chief almost swayed to the lilting Telugu film songs at an informal get-together he hosted at NTR Bhavan.
"Telugu Biddalu Ye Seema Mettina (In whichever region the Telugus are)/Ee Ugadi (Let this Ugadi)/Vari Tejanni Dinadina pravardhamanam cheyalani (Spread their glory everyday, everywhere)/Desa Videsalaloni Teluguvarandariki (To every Telugu in and outside the country)/Na manah poorvaka subhakanshalu (My heartiest greetings reach them)", Babu says in the last stanza of his Sri Parthiva Nama Samvatsara Ugadi greetings.
Accustomed to presiding over official "Panchanga Sravanam" for almost a decade, Chandrababu Naidu has now decided to celebrate Ugadi on a massive scale at the State party office. "We are now out of power. As chief minister I used to participate in the official programme. We will celebrate it as a party programme this time", he observed.
The TD supremo has invited party leaders and journalists along with their family members to the Ugadi celebrations at NTR Bhavan. There will be a recital of the Panchangam, followed by a serving of the traditional Ugadi Patchadi. Babu is likely to honour some eminent personalities on the occasion.

Tuesday, 5 April 2005

Chemists strike hit infants with lactose intolerance

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, April 5: The State is faced with shortage of infant food even as there appears to be no end in sight to chemists' strike, which entered the fifth day on Tuesday.
Babies below eight months and those with intolerance to lactogen or milk protein are the most affected as the milk formulae they need are available only in medical stores. However, the shortage in baby foods (for children above eight months) is met by super markets which also sell such products.
According to an estimate about 10 lakh babies in the State are hit by the chemists' strike and one to three lakh show symptoms of lactogen intolerance. Parents cannot change the baby milk formula overnight as it will lead to certain physiological complications in the child. Babies habituated to tinned milk formulae may find it difficult to digest alternative formulae or buffalo milk. The strike has complicated the parents' problems as they find it hard to get the same type or brand of baby food for their little ones.
Says Dr NCK Reddy, superintendent of Nilofer Children's Hospital, "sudden change in a baby's food habits may cause disturbances in its digestive system. The flora in the baby's intestines change with the shift in the brand of milk product. Parents should consult doctor if they find their babies uncomfortable. The problem is more felt in babies with lactogen intolerance". He suggests that as an alternative, buffaloes or sachet milk may be diluted as an alternative feed till the strike is called off.
The chemists went on strike saying that their agitation against the new VAT system was for just two days. Their sudden decision to convert the agitation into indefinite strike has taken many parents by surprise. The timing of the strike also affected the families with infants.
"We purchase milk formula for our baby in the first week of month along with other items. Had the chemists informed before hand that they would go on an indefinite strike, we would have purchased the milk formula well in advance. Just one day's feed is left with us", observes software professional R Lata Kumari.
Parents cannot simply experiment with the baby food by suddenly changing the milk formula. Dr Sreedhar Reddy of Vasavi Hospitals told this correspondent that babies might refuse new products as they easily notice a change in its taste. "Mother's milk is the best source of nutrition for the child. But if the babies are fed on infant formula, parents should ensure that they get the right product", he points.
According to medical experts, one to three per cent of babies in the State show intolerance or allergy to milk. Some babies are allergic to cow or buffalo milk and they need special milk formula without lactogen. About 10 per cent of the infants are allergic to milk protein.
Parents were seen standing in long queues at about half a dozen places where medical shops functioned, though partially, with the help of the police. Many of them ran out of stocks.
All-India Drug Control Officers' Confederation secretary-general R Udaybhaskar says it has come to their notice that shortage or non-availability of vital drugs besides infant milk formula has affected thousands of babies in the State. "We had to use force in Vijayawada, East and West Godavari to open medical shops. The Essential Services Maintenance Act provides us with immense powers including breaking open of medical shops to sell medicines", he said.
Though infant milk formulae do not come under the Drug Act, they are mostly sold in medical shops.

Monday, 4 April 2005

Breakdown of talks with Naxals sparks Maoist violence

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, April 4: The breakdown of peace talks is proving to be costly for the YS Rajasekhar government with one violent death reported almost every eight hours since January this year.
As many as 150 people including 80 Naxalites have been killed either in Maoist violence or police "encounters" all over the State after the talks broke down, creating a sense of fear psychosis in interior villages and areas abutting forests.
Such is the extent of fear in the jungles that even a top police official like the DGP has to use helicopters to visit police stations in far-flung areas with Naxal dominance. Earlier only the chief minister used to use helicopters. Incidentally, it is the first time that a DGP is avoiding going by road, choosing to heli-hop frequently to forest areas in recent years.
The Maoists have also changed their strategy to keep the State government and the police machinery under constant pressure and fear by hitting at unexpected targets, be it police stations or little known politicians. The recent attack on Chilakaluripet police station and the killing of local-level Congress, TDP and BJP leaders are part of the Maoists' new plan of action to rule over the interior areas.
On Monday alone, the Maoists killed RSS activist and Bharatiya Kisan Morcha district president K Ayyapu Reddy in Mahbubnagar district. Just a few hours earlier they killed mandal Congress leader Yelka Madhusudhan Reddy in the same district. Though these local politicians are not on the hit-list of the Naxalites, they are simply targeting them to put pressure on the government.
Maoists former representative and revolutionary singer Gaddar fears that bloodshed will be more if there's no rule of law by the government. "If you abide by the law, it's for your good", he advises the Congress government while accusing it of shutting the doors for peace and peace talks.
Squarely blaming the State government for the failure of the talks process, Virasam president Kalyana Rao, who withdrew as Maoist representative on Monday, feels that peace will return to the jungles if the State government restored the pre-talks atmosphere.
Iornically, both the Naxals and the State government are planning to involve local tribal youth in their fight against each other. While the government has decided to raise a tribal greyhounds force, the Naxalites are increasingly employing tribal youths into their movement.
Drawing a parallel between Mahabharatha and the ongoing Naxal-police fight, Gaddar likened the State government to Duryodhana and the Moaists to Pandavas in "Vanvas" (forest exile). "We emissaries are like Krishna. When the Pandavas sent Krishna to Duryodhana as an emissary, he was held captive", he said.

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This Day In History

Mother's Care

Mother's Care
Minnu The Cat & Her Kittens Brownie, Goldie & Blackie

Someone with Nature

Someone with Nature
Syed Akbar in an island in river Godavari with Papikonda hills in the background

Recognition by World Vegetable Centre

Recognition by World Vegetable Centre

Under the shade of Baobab tree

Under the shade of Baobab tree
At Agha Khan Akademi in Kenya

Gateway to the Southern Hemisphere

Gateway to the Southern Hemisphere

Convention on Biodiversity

Convention on Biodiversity
Syed Akbar at the 11th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity