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Telangana: Congress on guard to prevent poaching attempts by rivals

With the counting of votes for the Telangana Assembly elections scheduled on Sunday, and most exit polls giving Congress an edge, the party is taking all precautions to protect its candidates from possible poaching attempts by its rivals.

The central leadership of the party is reportedly sending some senior leaders as observers to Hyderabad to closely monitor the situation. They will give necessary instructions to the party candidates from time to time. The candidates have been directed to reach Hyderabad.

On the direction of Congress leadership, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar will be landing in Hyderabad on Saturday night. Talking to media persons in Bengaluru, Shivakumar said that he would carry out the task assigned by the party. He also alleged that the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) is trying to lure Congress candidates, even as he exuded confidence that no one will defect.

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Congress Working Committee (CWC) member and special observer Ramesh Chennithala, Screening Committee Chairman K. Muraleedharan, Bengal Congress leader Deepa Das Munshi, Karnataka minister K.J. George and N.S. Boseraju is also likely to arrive in Hyderabad later in the day, among others.

Meanwhile, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) has reportedly decided to deploy its special observers at all 49 counting centers. During a meeting with state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Vikas Raj on Saturday, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) leaders requested that all returning officers be directed to hand over the election certificates to the chief election agents of the candidates.

Former TPCC President Uttam Kumar Reddy said they urged the Election Commission to authorize the chief election agents to collect the election certificates on behalf of the winning candidates.

This is an indication that all the candidates may be asked to move to a designated location in Hyderabad where the central observers may also be present.

Meanwhile, the AICC in-charge of Telangana, Manikrao Thakare, held an online meeting with all the party candidates and gave necessary directions. He also held a meeting with TPCC President A. Revanth Reddy and some other key leaders.

The Congress leaders fear that in the event of the party not getting a clear majority, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao may lure Congress MLAs as he did in 2014 and 2018. A dozen Congress MLAs had crossed over to TRS (now BRS) after the 2018 elections.

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