Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service
Hyderabad, November 18
Less than twenty-four hours after the Telangana State Election Commission (TSEC) allowed the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) Government continue with the distribution of grant towards flood relief, the TSEC has asked the government to put on hold distribution of flood relief funds as it affects the model code of conduct.
The TSEC had announced the elections to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) on Tuesday. At that point, it said that the government could continue distribution of Rs 10,000 as relief among people affected by last month’s heavy rains. But following objection by opposition parties, mainly the BJP and Congress and also upon seeing thousands of people queue up for grant, the TSEC has asked the government to stop the distribution of grant.
Secretary Ashok Kumar today said that the government could start the distribution of grant money after the declaration of results on December 4. Elections to 150-member GHMC will be held on December 1.
“I request you to put on hold the registration and distribution of relief to the flood-affected families in the GHMC limits till the declaration of results as it is attracting model code of conduct and likely to influence the electors” reads the letter sent to Arvind Kumar, Principal Secretary, Municipal Administration and Urban Development.
The GHMC polls in 150 divisions covers around 20 assembly constituencies fall under the GHMC limits spread across four districts—Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy, Medchal–Malkajgiri and Sangareddy. These polls are considered to be mini elections in the state that gauge the mood of the people and their happiness index with the present government.
It is pertinent to mention that while announcing the poll schedule yesterday, State Election Commissioner C. Parthasarathi specifically mentioned that the government could continue distribution of flood relief funds as it was an on-going programme.
But after the opposition parties lodged strict complaints and accused the TRS of influencing the voters, the TSEC came up with the direction to stop distribution of grant money. Hyderabad was the worst hit by rains and floods in October that are said to be the worst in the last 100 years. The entire grant was to be distributed among the people who will be voting in the December 1 polls.
It may be mentioned that the TSEC direction would help the ruling TRS as people feel that the opposition parties have created an issue to have the genuinely required grant stopped. For the past few days, a stampede-like situation has been seen across the city to apply for Rs 10,000 grant, notwithstanding the fresh wave of COVID-19 cases.
The government had already released Rs 550 crore to be distributed out of which the authorities claim that they have already disbursed over Rs 470 crore in cash to 4,75,871 in the GHMC area. This is likely to become a major issue in these elections. TRS hold 99 and its friendly party All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) 44 out of the 150 divisions in the outgoing House of GHMC.