Chenamolu Venkata Rao Flyover, Krishna District: I began my Padayatra this morning after paying tributes on his birth anniversary, to the great Babasaheb Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, one of the greatest social reformers of this country and a man who transformed the lives of generations of weaker sections through his pioneering Constitutional safeguards and revolutionary ideals; a visionary who championed the cause of social justice and who believed that it was imperative for society to have selfless political leadership in order to accomplish the mission of eliminating social iniquities.  To our misfortune, Andhra Pradesh now has a political leadership whose actions run contrary to the spirit of the great Babasaheb‘s ideals.

If one were to ask as to when the maximum number of atrocities were inflicted on dalits...without blinking, the response would be—under this Chandrababu Naidu-led TDP government. “Would anyone like to be born a Dalit?“ This statement from Chandrababu Naidu mirrors his insensitivity to the weakest of the weaker sections and his condescending mindset. The scornfulness that underscores this attitude is evident.  Again, when his cabinet colleague spoke derisively about dalits, Chandrababu Naidu‘s silence spoke eloquently. It exposed his attitude towards Dalits clearly.

Chandrababu Naidu‘s treatment of dalits, not to speak of his ‘concern’ for them becomes even more clear when we place it in the context of his inaction in many instances of brazen atrocities, including a Dalit woman being stripped in public. Not only were the guilty not punished, but they enjoyed the patronage of partymen. Land belonging to poor Dalits has been grabbed by his followers indiscriminately, across the state, in many instances, without any compensation. In all cases of atrocities against Dalits, Chandrababu has remained blind and unmoved, a Dritarashtra of our times.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that in Guntur district alone, not a day goes by without some members of Dalit groups filing a complaint against some atrocity committed against them or the other.  My Padayatra in Guntur came to an end today. For a moment I recalled my experiences in the district and what I gathered from my interaction with people there. I can never forget some of the bitter truths which farmers cutting across different segments, be they cultivators of cotton, chilli, corn, turmeric or pulses, revealed to me with great pain, about the tyrannical Telugu Desam government. To imagine that they are put to such untold suffering even as their farming activity takes place right next to the gushing waters of the Krishna river (which they are deprived of), is an agonising aspect of reality under Chandrababu Naidu.

Read: Chandrababu Is A Villain Who Deserves Punishment: YS Jagan

The loot and plunder being indulged in by sand mining and land mafias, the many irregularities in supply of rations and rice, the involvement of middlemen in cheating farmers, scams surrounding cotton, involving CCI, the infamous Neeru-Chettu scheme, Amaravati scam and a host of other scandals reflect the corrupt TDP rule. I recollected all these and more, land belonging to waqf boards, churches, temples, dalits, Sadavarti—the list is long and endless. The story of the loot by the ruling TDP is a voluminous catalogue. Its memory brings to the fore indescribable pain.

Thousands of citizens from Vijayawada poured on to the Kanaka Durgamma bridge to greet me. It was truly an experience of a lifetime. The affection showered spontaneously upon me by the people of the city moved me.  I remembered at that moment, as I was walking on the bridge with thousands of men, women and the elderly, how 23 innocent lives were lost in the boat tragedy which shook the state, a tragedy which took place on account of Chandrababu Naidu’s unbridled greed.  I can never forget the fact that the real bigwigs behind this tragedy remained unpunished, while innocent people were framed and cases foisted against them. When my eyes looked reverentially towards the Kanaka Durga temple, I could not help but think about some of the unholy, Tantric rituals and other practices which were conducted in the precincts of this sacred place, by the ruling TDP, all of which ran against the fundamentals of religious scriptures and codes.

I recalled how the most revered Ammavaru’s crown, worshipped by millions of believers, was stolen during Chandrababu’s reign. How can people live happily under a ruler who has no fear of God and no corcern for the welfare of the poor?  What kind of deception is it to swindle hundreds of crores of rupees and then speak of happy cities?

I have a question for the chief minister—is it not deception on your part to fake concern for dalits in election year by announcing the Dalita Tejam programmes when you have not acted against those inflicting atrocities on Dalits? Are you worthy of paying tributes to the memory of Babasaheb Ambedkar when your actions violate the spirit of our Constitution and the lofty ideals he represents?