Telangana's Huzurabad byelection to be the costliest ever?

Election expenditures behind Huzurabad Assembly bypoll is expected to go through the roof with the implementation of Dalit Bandhu, and its sheep distribution programme.

Published: 29th July 2021 08:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th July 2021 08:59 AM   |  A+A-

In this file photo, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has lunch with villagers from Huzurabad after an interactive session on the Dalit Bandhu scheme, at Pragathi Bhavan.

In this file photo, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has lunch with villagers from Huzurabad after an interactive session on the Dalit Bandhu scheme, at Pragathi Bhavan. (File photo | Express)

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Will the Huzurabad bypoll turn out to be the most expensive election ever? Going by the populist spending in the form of benefits offered by the State government, including the distribution of sheep and the implementation of Dalit Bandhu, besides splurging of hard cash on the voters by all the parties, this byelection is likely to be a high profile one since the sweepstakes are quite high for all the players.

The freebies being distributed in Huzurabad Assembly segment by the State government will run into hundreds of crores. The Dalit Bandhu scheme will be launched on a pilot basis in Huzurabad segment. If the government provides benefits to 400 persons under Dalit Bandhu, then the cost on the exchequer will be Rs 40 crore. The government’s plan is to deposit Rs 10 lakh into the bank accounts of SCs under the scheme. However, the number of beneficiaries has not been officially announced yet. 

Ministers T Srinivas Yadav and Koppula Eshwar distribute sheep at Jammikunta in Karimnagar district on Wednesday, July 28, 2021. (Photo | Express)

Meanwhile, the government has also decided to distribute 4,000 units of sheep in the segment. Each unit will cost Rs1.75 lakh and the government is going to spend Rs 70 crore on just this initiative.“We will distribute 4,000 sheep units, each unit consisting of 20 sheep and one ram, in the Huzurabad segment,” Animal Husbandry Minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav said on Wednesday after distributing 500 units. In addition to this, the government is also planning to provide permanent houses to SCs in the segment and has distributed ration cards.

Already political parties are spending huge amounts in the segment to lure the mandal and village level leaders since former Minister Eatala Rajender resigned. A lot of political activities, including visits and pada yatras, are currently going on in the constituency. One political party distributed wall clocks, even before the announcement of the schedule for the bypoll. Once the legal expenditure for delivering “gifts” announced by the government from the exchequer and the amount being spent by the political parties and their candidates are clubbed, then the Huzurabad expenditure will be a show of money power by the contenders.

Stop Dalit Bandhu: FGG
Reacting to the huge spending on Huzurabad Assembly segment, Forum For Good Governance (FGG) secretary M Padmanabha Reddy said: “Due to various reasons, the bypoll has become a prestigious issue for the ruling party. There is a general feeling that the result of this bypoll will have an impact on the next Assembly elections”. Though FGG welcomed the Dalit Bandhu scheme, Padmanabha Reddy asked the ECI to see that the implementation of the scheme is postponed in Huzurabad. “In other segments, if the government wants, it can implement it,” Reddy told the ECI. Quoting news reports that the government would extend the scheme to 10,000 families, by spending Rs 1,000 crore, Reddy said that “the scheme is introduced for poll gains and is against the spirit of the Constitution”.


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