Is it Revanth Reddy who is to blame for ECI decision to withdraw ‘Rythu Bandhu’?

The Telangana Government has already given 10 rounds of 'Rythu Bandhu' to farmers.

Revanth Reddy

HYDERABAD: Who is responsible for the sudden decision of the Election Commission of India (ECI) to withdraw the permission it had granted for the disbursement of the second leg of farm input subsidy ‘Rythu Bandhu’ on the eve of Telangana elections?

It is believed that a letter purportedly written by Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee president A Revanth Reddy that has done in the disbursement of the amount.

It’s widely speculated that this letter of complaint against the statement of Finance Minister T Harish Rao who had announced the schedule of the disbursement of ‘Rythu Bandhu’ assistance to farmers.

The Telangana Government has already given 10 rounds of 'Rythu Bandhu' to farmers.

The scheme benefits nearly 73 lakh farmers. The current round would have been extended to all, beginning November 28, as the State Government put everything in place to release a whopping Rs.7,700 crore to the farmers.

However, the ECI, which granted permission to the disbursement on November 24, rescinded the decision in just 48 hours what with a complaint lodged allegedly by TPCC president A Revanth Reddy.

Fearing an oblique political advantage to the ruling BRS in the elections, a missive was dashed off to the Election Commission of India to stall the disbursement. No sooner had the complaint reached it, than the ECI lost no time in throwing the proverbial spanner in the works of the Telangana Government, which had made arrangements to disburse the amounts due to the farmers. Rythu Bandhu is an ongoing scheme.

Let us take a dekko at the complaint lodged by allegedly by Revanth Reddy with the ECI.

"As the president of the main opposition party in Telangana state, I am bringing an important matter to your attention. With the crucial Assembly Elections in Telangana approaching, the ruling party Bharat Rashtra Samiti is involved in conspiracies to sway public opinion. We trust that the National Election Commission, as the highest constitutional body in the country, will act impartially.

"In contrast to last year when Rythu Bandhu was granted in the first week of December, this time, exactly three days before the election, money is being deposited to influence farmers.

In a recent statement on November 25th in Palakurti Public Meeting. T Harish Rao of Bharat Rashtra Samithi, a Minister in the Telangana Government, announced that Rythu Bandhu money would be distributed from Tuesday morning, accompanied by messages to all mobile phones. This unequivocally falls under the violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).

Such actions could unduly influence farmers during the elections, and despite our complaint, the Election Commission has not responded.

"I earnestly request you to consider this matter seriously, prevent farmers from undue spending, and ensure the elections are conducted impartially and free from influence.

Additionally, there are concerns about targeted ED and IT attacks on Congress leaders, hindering proper campaigning.

"Despite complaints against leaders of the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi and Bharatiya Janata Party for money luring, the Election Commission has not taken any action. These developments have raised doubts among the people of Telangana and our party, eroding faith in the system.

"We appeal to you to take stringent action to ensure fair and impartial elections in Telangana," Revanth Reddy informed the ECI.

Though the State Congress sources began their damage control exercise by claiming that it was a "fake letter" that was put out by vested interests in the name of the TPCC president, the veracity of the claim could not be verified.

Even if one could trust the claim that it was a 'fake letter' that is put out to blame Revanth Reddy, people would not forget the fact that Congress party's Central Election Committee member and Nalgond MP N Uttam Kumar Reddy, who is also contesting from Huzurnagar Assembly constutuency in the current elections, on October 25 with the ECI urging it to prevent the Telangana Government from releasing the amounts to the farmers through the direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme.

Though the Congress is trying to wash its hands off the blame alleging that the letter was fake and not written by Revanth Reddy, the complaint by Uttam Kumar Reddy was obviously corroborating the charge against the Congress.

Now, the Congress leaders were trying to shift the blame on to Harish Rao. Congress Legislature Party leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka sought to know as to why the State Government had not disbursed the 'Rythu Bandhu' assistance before the Model Code of Conduct came into force.

Blame game apart, the farmers, who had heaved a sigh of relief with the ECI's permission to disburse the 'Rythu Bandhu' assistance, are now blaming the Congress for depriving them of the "morsel that almost reached their mouths from eating."

More than the disbursement, it's the deprivation by the Congress that is going to have a bearing on the election and cast its dark shadow on the Congress more than the BRS.

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