Central agencies tighten noose around KCR family

Within the days of Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that none of those who are facing serious charges of wrong-doings will be spared, at an election rally in Madhya Pradesh blowing the poll begul, the Central agency has swung into action to take over the state Public Service Commission (TSPSC) question paper leak. Modi even named all those dynasts who are ruling various state governments, including that of KCR, and even named Kavitha, who is also accused in the multi-crore Delhi Excise policy scam. And the TSPSC question paper leak led to postponement resulting in hundreds of job aspirants being crest-fallen. Although, as many as 49 people were arrested so far in connection with the exam paper leak case by the state-formed Special Investigation Team, the state Congress accuses the involvement of the state IT and Hyderabad Urban Development Minister K T Rama Rao. He is the son of the Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and also the most powerful cabinet minister, besides being projected as the successor. The TSPSC exam was for Assistant Executive Engineers (AEE) to fill up 1550 vacant posts, for which hundreds of students have been preparing for the past many years. It was found to have been leaked to seven candidates, according to the SIT chief Srinivas. The question paper was found to have been leaked to 13 candidates. The Divisional Accounts Officers (DAO) question paper, the police found, was leaked to eight candidates. All 28 job aspirants were arrested. It involves whopping transactions worth Rs 1.63 crore in buying and selling question papers. Unrelenting, the state Congress chief Revanth Reddy even petitioned with CBI and ED to take over the probe, as his party has no faith in the state police, which may hush up the involvement of KTR. And the Central agency’s decision to step in, that too when the Samajwadi Party president and former UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s surprise visit to Hyderabad to meet KCR, trigger speculations over the widening chinks in the Opposition unity armor. Akhilesh, who attended the first Opposition unity meeting convened by the JDU President and chief minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar, now adds fuel to the fire, as not so long ago the Congress leader proudly boasted that he had put his foot down to oppose the invite to KCR to the Patna meeting. Whether Akhilesh Yadav’s meeting with KCR was planned to express his concern for not extending an invitation to him or just a courtesy call, none knows. But, during the meeting, KCR made it clear to the SP leader that his party decided to maintain equal distance from Congress as well as the BJP. And, in the same tone, his party is willing to join non-BJP and non-Congress Opposition alliance to take on the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. And SP leader too reportedly shared the same feelings. Was it the realization of Akhilesh after attending the Patna meeting where it was originally decided to declare Sharad Pawar as the Chairman of the Common Minimum Program committee, to prepare the possible draft copy? But, it did not happen. Added to Sharad Pawar’s woes, his party split in Maharashtra, where 40+ MLAs and three MPs, including his most trusted confidante, Praful Patel, opts to throw his weight behind his leader’s nephew, Ajit Pawar. The political upheaval in Maharashtra also created tremors among many Opposition parties, especially those ruling the state. Political analysts feel that the saffron brigade’s next destination is Bihar, where the Nitish’s JDU and Laloo’s RJD formed an unholy alliance after the former dumped the BJP, to form government. And, a rattled JDS headed by former Karnataka Chief Minister Kumara Swamy’s, response to Maharashtra tremors, was wondering who will be Ajit Pawar in Karnataka’s Congress as the sharp differences between Siddaramah and DKS are known. Even, dust is yet to settle in Congress-ruled Rajasthan, where Sachin Pilot, continues to be defiant, keeping the party leadership on tenterhooks. Against that backdrop, the road for the Modi-led BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls looks, like a hassle-free return to power. Meanwhile, KCR, who has put his national ambitions on the back burner for the time being, on realizing that his party’s victory for the third consecutive term in this year-end polls, is depending much on his political prospects in the Opposition party’s disunity – both the BJP and Congress are rocked with internal bickering. Shrewd KCR, for the time being, appears to have withdrawn his earlier aggressive posture against the BJP, hoping the latter may reciprocate by going slow on alleged cases against his family members, including his daughter Kavitha. Hence, his party leaders, especially, KTR, intensified their tirade against the Congress as well as BJP. But, with no reciprocation from the BJP at the Centre, especially in the question paper leak, one has to wait and see how the BRS will change its stance in the coming days against the BJP.