Forum for Good Governance, an NGO has urged the Election Commission to stop implementation of the Telangana government's Dalit Bandhu scheme in Huzurabad Assembly constituency, where bye-elections are due to be held. Stating that the new schemes are being introduced to lure voters, it sought postponement of the scheme in Huzurabad till the bye-election is over. It pointed out that the sitting MLA of Huzurabad resigned on June 12 and in all likelihood there is going to be a bye-election to this constituency in the coming four months.
Forum Secretary M Padmanabha Reddy, in a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner, stated that, due to various reasons, the bye-election has become a prestige issue for the ruling party. There is a general feeling that the result of this bye-election will have an impact on the next Assembly election. Under Dalit Bandhu scheme announced recently, 100 Dalit families will be selected in every Assembly constituency and each selected family will be given Rs 10 lakh cash for their upliftment. In all, an amount of Rs 10 crore will be spent in each Assembly constituency and in the entire state, Rs 1,190 crore will be provided under the scheme.
Citing the Chief Minister's announcement that the scheme will be first introduced in Huzurabad Assembly constituency on a pilot basis and will later be extended to the entire state, the NGO brought to the notice of the poll panel that the opposition parties, while welcoming the scheme, stated that it should be introduced in all 119 Assembly constituencies and not just in Huzurabad. They say that introducing the scheme only in Huzurabad is mainly for electoral gains in the ensuing bye-election, it said.
The NGO said that the Chief Minister is on record saying: "I am not a saint living in the Himalayas. I am a politician and I am introducing this scheme in Huzurabad for electoral gains only. What is wrong with it?" The Forum said while the governments have freedom to take up any development till the election code comes into operation, the Chief Minister's open announcement that the scheme is being introduced for electoral gains is to be analysed in the spirit of the law.