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Battle lines drawn in Andhra Pradesh ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections

On Wednesday, YSR Congress Chief Y S Jaganmohan Reddy is slated to complete his 3,500 km padayatra in Srikakulam

Business Standard 

Chandrababu Naidu
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu

As the Lok Sabha elections draw near, the battle in Andhra Pradesh is hotting up. The state Assembly polls and the Lok Sabha polls will be held simultaneously. On Wednesday, YSR Congress Chief Y S Jaganmohan Reddy is slated to complete his 3,500 km padayatra in Srikakulam. Meanwhile, rival N Chandrababu Naidu, Andhra Pradesh chief minister and chief of the Telugu Desam Party, landed in New Delhi on Tuesday evening to meet Opposition leaders, including Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Communist Party of India (Marxist) Chief Sitaram Yechury. After the drubbing the Congress-TDP alliance suffered in the Telangana Assembly polls, there are voices in the Congress that want the party brass to rethink its alliance with the TDP in Andhra. Naidu is keen on continuing with the alliance and also convince the CPI (M) to join it.

No cakewalk for Bhargava

Ending days of speculation, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) named former cabinet minister Gopal Bhargava the leader of the Opposition in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly on Monday. The decision was announced by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh who said Bhargava was the unanimous choice of the party. His name was proposed by former CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and was seconded by former minister Narottam Mishra. Former ministers Rajendra Shukla and Narottam Mishra were also in contention, it is learnt. Shukla is a close aide of Chouhan and Mishra is considered close to the party top brass. Chouhan had distanced himself from the race early on.

A mock session

Opposition members on Tuesday held a “mock session” of Parliament inside Rajya Sabha after the chair adjourned the House for the day. They said their protest was aimed to highlight the “dictatorial” manner in which the chair extended the sitting of the House by a day without gauging the mood of the House, which is customary in such cases. While the chair adjourned the House, the Opposition members lingered at their seats for nearly an hour, and some senior members, including Congress' Ghulam Nabi Azad, Trinamool Congerss' Sukhendu Sekhar Roy and others spoke about how the Narendra Modi government was “eroding parliamentary democracy”. These members later trooped out to the statue of Mahatma Gandhi inside the Parliament premises to continue their protest. The Opposition members have threatened to disrupt the proceedings on Wednesday as well.

First Published: Tue, January 08 2019. 21:34 IST