Tenali, Guntur District: Tenali is described as the Paris of Andhra Pradesh. It has a special place in history. It has been a centre of diverse philosophies and streams of thought and action. This historic place has given rise to movements, revolutionary ideas and actions. I am reminded of Vishnu Sahasra Naamam too. Tenali gave us some of the greatest freedom fighters, rationalists, thinkers, poets, literatteurs, scholars and men of whom we can justly be proud. One of the Ashta Diggajas (eight giants and gems of diverse fields), who studded Sri Krishna Devaraya’s court, the multi-faceted poet, Tenali Ramalinga, made Tenali immortal. This place is the inheritor of such a grand legacy. Today, it is a prime example of how TDP has been looting the state and committing all kinds of atrocities everywhere. It is the centre of their illegal activities. This is the transformation that the TDP has brought about in Tenali!

The eastern and western canals here, as also the Nizampatnam canal are lifelines—great sources of irrigation. They have been responsible for the pervasive greenery one sees in this region. It is an area known for the cultivation of rice, corn, pulses, turmeric and a host of other crops. For centuries now, it has been a fertile hub, buzzing with agricultural activity. Farmers of the Tenali belt have done the country and rice bowl of India proud with its corn crop—the highest yield per acre!

The farmer in this region today is a victim of faulty policies of the TDP government. He is reeling under a tremendous crisis of the scale that he has never experienced before. Like vultures, TDP men have descended upon this fertile region and have been looting its natural resources in every possible way. Denying the farmers water for irrigation, they have turned this rich, fertile area into a rain-dependent one! There can be no greater tragedy than this. Without proper price to market their produce and without any assistance from the government, the farmers of this region are trapped in a crisis of an unprecedented nature.

When I reached Rana Rang Chowk in the afternoon, I was overcome with emotion. This historic place is a glowing symbol of sacrifice of immeasurable significance. The seven columns erected in memory of the seven legendary martyrs who fell victim to the bullets of the British rulers during the Quit India movement on August 12, 1942, filled my heart with an indescribable feeling. I turned emotional at the recollection of their supreme sacrifice. These columns, at the Martyrs’ Memorial, commemorating the sacrifice of the great freedom fighters, were inaugurated by the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Kamaraj Nadar and AP’s Chief Minister of the time, who later went on to become the President of our country, Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy. I stood there in silence paying homage to these great sons of the nation who gave up their lives for the freedom of the country.

As I see it, there is no difference between the oppressive British rulers of that period and the current Chandrababu Naidu regime. While the British cracked down on India’s freedom movement, Chandrababu Naidu made every effort to suppress the movement for special category status to AP and bury the issue completely. Is there any difference between the tyrannical British rulers and the despotic rule of Chandrababu Naidu? I marched on, firm in the belief that Chandrababu Naidu would meet the same fate which the cruel British rulers did.

Lawyers, students and members of other groups who met me today expressed their solidarity with our party MPs who have undertaken an indefinite protest fast for special category status to AP in the national capital. I could also see relay hunger strike camps along the road in various places. People everywhere came forward to express their support to YSRCP for its struggle for SCS to AP. While there is simmering discontent against the TDP government and the ruling party’s casual approach to SCS to the state, Chandrababu Naidu has been supremely different and flippant in his approach. The entire country is aware of this. A habitual practitioner of the politics of deception, he cares little for the aspirations of people and is driven purely by opportunistic moves to further his own interests.

I have a question for the chief minister—how many dramas are you going to stage, sporting black badges and taking out cycle rallies? Why did you agree to a special package when you were aware of the importance of special category status? Is it because you knew that you would have control over the funds released under the special package, while all the benefits under SCS go directly to the beneficiaries? Would it not have been a talking point for the entire nation if 25 MPs had resigned at once and sat on a mass indefinite protest fast together? Are you not aware of the fact that the Centre would then have been forced to climb down? Having done nothing in the national capital, and having only betrayed the people of AP there, here in the state you are trying to stage dramas as if you are interested in SCS. Is this not deception of the worst kind ?