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ECI orders deferment of Telangana’s Dalit Bandhu scheme in Huzurabad

The scheme was formally launched by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao in Huzurabad on August 16.

By: Express Web Desk | Hyderabad |
October 19, 2021 9:36:27 am
Election Commission of India (File)

The Election Commission of India on Monday stalled the implementation of the Telangana government’s latest flagship program Dalit Bandhu scheme in the Huzurabad Assembly Constituency ahead of October 30 bye-elections.

In a letter addressed to the Telangana state Chief Electoral Officer Shashank Goel, Election Commission’s principal secretary Avinash Kumar stated “the commission has deliberated the Dalit Bandhu scheme in poll-bound Huzurabad constituency and directed that DBT covering the scheme shall be deferred in the constituency in all its forms till the completion of bye-election.”

The scheme was formally launched by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao in Huzurabad on August 16. Under the scheme, each Dalit family in the state is assured of Rs 10 lakh as assistance in the form of a direct benefit transfer into their bank account in saturation mode. The state released Rs 2000 crore for implementing the scheme in Huzurabad and under the scheme, it has already transferred the promised Rs 10 lakh each to as many as 17,000 of the eligible 20,000 Dalit families in Huzurabad. However, these amounts cannot be used until the beneficiaries submit to officials their business plan for approval.

On July 29, a Hyderabad-based thinktank Forum for Good Governance had written to the Election Commission of India requesting it to direct the Telangana government to postpone the Dalit Bandhu scheme till the by-poll was over. They questioned the government’s intentions behind implementing the scheme in poll-bound Huzurabad.

Soon after the EC’s decision, the ruling TRS activists blamed the BJP and started trending #AntiDalitBJP on Twitter. Sharing the letter from BJP general secretary Premender Reddy to the Election Commission of India, TRS social media convenor Krishank blamed the BJP for its Anti-Dalit stance.

On the other hand, BJP state president and Karimnagar MP, Bandi Sanjay Kumar, said that the Election Commission had issued an order suspending the Dalit Bandhu scheme due to the failure of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. He demanded the CM took moral responsibility for cheating Dalits once again and sought his immediate resignation.

A bypoll to the Huzurabad Assembly seat is scheduled to be held on October 30. The election was necessitated following former Health Minister Eatala Rajender quit the TRS and his MLA post in May 2021 after he was dropped from the Cabinet over allegations of land grabbing by persons close to him and an inquiry ordered into these allegations. Rajender, who represented TRS in the Legislative Assembly for four terms from Huzurabad, is the BJP candidate now.

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