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‘Five star’ launch to Congress campaign Poll Ready

Wary of poll code violation, Chief Minister prefers luxury hotel to camp office


YSR beats the drum at 9.45 a.m., the auspicious time

Former MLA Repala Srinivas brings the jumbo-sized drum


— Photo: Mohd. Yousuf

SOUNDING out OPPONENTS: Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy beats the drum to formally launch the Congress campaign in Hyderabad on Friday. Ministers – J. Geeta Reddy and Sabitha Indra Reddy – and actress Jeevitha are seen.

HYDERABAD: Wary of violating the Election Commission’s model code of conduct, the Congress on Friday took all precautions to avoid getting caught on the wrong foot at the launch of its poll campaign.

Word was sent across that Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy would symbolically launch the campaign at his Camp Office by beating a huge drum at 9.45 a.m., considered auspicious time.

All arrangements were made for conducting the programme on the lush green lawns.

However, the Chief Minister’s aides, feared that they would attract the Election Commission’s ire if the political event was held there.

Consultations

Hectic consultations were held and it was immediately decided to shift the venue to Hotel Grand Kakatiya across the road in Begumpet. Notwithstanding the change of venue, Dr. Reddy managed to drum up support for the party by making an open appeal to the electorate to give one more chance sharp at 9.45 a.m.

As the journalists were exchanging meaningful glances and whispering about their unique experience of reporting a campaign launch from a luxury hotel, Dr. Reddy intervened to explain that the attempt was to avoid any poll code violation. “The hotel is across the road from my residence, hence the programme took place there,” he clarified.

Dr. Reddy’s staunch supporter and former MLA Repala Srinivas brought a huge drum along with some supporters to the hotel.

Photo opportunity

To provide the photo opportunity to the battery of lensmen, Dr. Reddy was flanked by three party women dressed in resplendent sarees. Mines Minister P. Sabitha Indra Reddy joined Dr. Reddy in beating the drum.

Clear message

Lest the message was lost, the words 234 MLAs and 36 MPs were printed on the jumbo-sized drum to signify the figure that Dr. Reddy has been predicting as the Congress party’s election tally.

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