Naidu promises to bring Andhra back on path of development

Visakhapatnam, April 27 (IANS) Winding up his nearly seven-month long ‘padyatra’ (walkathon), Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N. Chandrababu Naidu Saturday promised to bring back Andhra Pradesh on the path of development and restore its glory.

Addressing a mammoth public meeting here Saturday night, Naidu made a slew of promises for all sections of people and assured that if voted to power in the next elections, he would fulfill all the promises.

The leader of opposition promised waiver of all loans of farmers to make agriculture profitable, protected drinking water to every village, jobs to all educated youth and monthly unemployment allowance in the event of an educated youth not getting employment.

Sharing his experiences of the padyatra, Naidu declared that the first file he would sign after swearing in as the chief minister would be to waive farm loans.

Describing electricity shortage as the biggest problem faced by the state, Naidu promised to put the sector back on rails. He pointed out how the sector was doing well and the state made all-round progress during his nine-year rule (1995-2004).

His other promises include a comprehensive insurance scheme for poor, improving the education sector, generation of jobs for youths, protection of women and girl child, closure of belt shops (unauthorized outlets of liquor shops), and waiver of interest on loans to women’s self-help groups.

Naidu targeted Congress government for its inefficiency and YSR Congress party for the corruption. He blamed Congress party’s misrule for the problems faced by people, while accusing late chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy of looting public wealth while cheating people in the name of various welfare schemes.

He termed YSR party as a child of Congress, saying it was formed to protect the ill-gotten money. Naidu lamented that Hyderabad had become corruption capital of the country. He said ministers including the home minister were accused in YSR party leader Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy’s illegal assets case and Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy was busy in shielding them.

Naidu ruled out any truck with communal parties and claimed that TDP was committed to protect secularism. He predicted that regional parties would sweep 2014 elections and that TDP would once again play a key role in national politics.

Thousands of people from various parts of the state turned up for what is being seen as the main opposition party’s major show of strength ahead of the next year’s elections to the state assembly and Lok Sabha.

Earlier, the former chief minister unveiled a 60-feet pylon to mark the culmination of 2,817 km long padyatra, the longest such padyatra undertaken by a politician in the state.

Naidu’s wife Bhuvaneswari, son Lokesh, brother-in-law and popular Telugu actor N. Balakrishna and top leaders of the party were present on the occasion.

By undertaking the padyatra, the 64-year-old broke the record of his bitter rival Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, who had covered nearly 1,500 km in 64 days in 2003. That ‘padyatra’ helped Rajasekhara Reddy to bring Congress party to power in 2004, ending Naidu’s nine-year-long rule.

Hoping to repeat history, Naidu launched his padyatra on Oct 2 last year at Hindupur in Anantapur district. He covered 16 districts, interacting with various sections of people to know their problems and making promises if TDP regains power in 2014 elections.

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