Chirala: Leader of opposition in Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly and YSRCP President, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy said that Chandrababu should have been awarded an Oscar for his ‘performance’. YS Jagan was alluding to a series of commitments made by Chandrababu, his false promises, shifting of stance culminating in the drama of resignations enacted now, supposedly “for Special Category Status” to Andhra Pradesh by pulling out his ministers from the NDA government “in protest.” The YSRCP chief reminded the huge crowd which had gathered at the Chirala Clock Tower where he addressed a massive public meeting, on Day 108 of his mass outreach programme, Praja Sankalpa Yatra, that had Chandrababu done so in the beginning or at least two years ago, it would have been a different matter. Instead, Naidu settled for a special package, insisting all along that it was more beneficial to the state.

YS Jagan began his speech by thanking thousands of people who had lined the streets braving the sun, waiting for him, and others who came up to him to encourage him and walk alongside him lending their voice to his and others who joined his Padayatra to narrate their problems to him. In spite of all their hardships, their faces radiated cheer when they met him, unmindful of the sizzling heat and dry dust of parched Prakasam, he said. The YSRCP chief said he was grateful to them for their overwhelming love and affection and promised to justify the confidence reposed in him.

YS Jagan criticised Chandrababu for neglecting the schemes and projects meant for Prakasam initiated by the late Dr. YS Rajasekhara Reddy, which mostly completed before his untimely demise. An example of Chandrababu’s indifference to the plight of the masses can be gauged from the fact that a pot of water in and around those places costs as much as 15 rupees!

The YSRCP chief reminded the people that forget about providing mineral water to every home, the TDP government encouraged the rampant profusion of “belt shops” of liquor. YS Jagan asked the gathering whether every village had a liquor shop or not and the massive crowd roared in affirmation. Similarly, mineral water may not be delivered home under Chandrababu’s hi-tech rule, but liquor has a pervasive home delivery network.

YS Jagan pointed out that Chandrababu had hiked petrol and power charges, impacting the lives of common citizens. Tariff of RTC buses was hiked and abnormally so on festivals, which he compared to “black marketing” of movie tickets at the time of their release. The Leader of Opposition in AP remarked that there was no rice in ration shops for the poor and that welfare schemes had been scaled down putting the deprived segments of society to great difficulty.

Loan waivers to farmers was a forgotten election promise, as was Naidu’s assurance of scrapping of loans of the weavers. The Chandrababu government did not bother to pay even the interest amount thus letting banks loose on farmers, weavers, women and others.

YS Jagan criticised the Chandrababu government for its widespread corruption in all areas. Sand and even temple lands were not spared. Janmabhoomi committees indulged in corruption even in the construction of toilets, he said. The YSRCP chief said that corruption under TDP had reached an all-time high and with his ill-gotten wealth Chandrababu was now preoccupied with “buying” MLAs of other parties. Naidu lacked the courage to get them disqualified and give them a ticket to field them as TDP candidates, the YSRCP president said.

What happened to Chandrababu Naidu’s promise of “elect Babu to get a job” (“Job kavali ante Babu ravali”)? YS Jagan reminded the audience that SCS to AP alone could generate jobs, with the incentives it provides to investors, the tax benefits which go with it and a host of other positives. What did Chandrababu Naidu do? Naidu had earlier ridiculed the YSRCP leadership when the party had stood its ground on SCS. Naidu disrupted the hunger strike undertaken by YS Jagan for SCS which would have forced the Centre to give a serious thought to the issue. Instead of nailing the BJP-led government after the assurances given by Venkaiah Naidu and PM Modi earlier, Chandrababu settled for a special package which Arun Jaitley referred to two years ago and repeated the other day.

Chandrababu Naidu claims to have pulled his ministers out of the NDA government, but strangely enough, continues to be a part of the alliance, YS Jagan said. This is consistent with his dichotomous approach.

The YSRCP President told the mammoth gathering that when the people’s government is elected, and Rajanna Rajyam is ushered in, his party would ensure that students from poor families also get an opportunity to study professional courses like engineering and medicine, which are beyond their grasp today. The Chandrababu Naidu government had narrowed down the scope of fee reimbursement, the pioneering initiative put in place by the late Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy. YS Jagan assured the people gathered at the meeting that YSRCP will stand firmly by every family in supporting education. Similarly it will also ensure that old age pension would not only reach the beneficiaries but would be hiked to Rs.2000. Women from SC/ST and minority communities would be given pension at the age of 45, he announced to full-throated cheers from the crowd.