Machavaram, East Godavari district: My father late Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy has been a major influence in my life at every instance. On his birth anniversary today, with my beloved father in my heart I promise to stand by his ideals and values.

As soon as I came out of the camp this morning, I met Ushamadhavi who poured out her woes. She married an upper caste man, Gunasagar, an auto rickshaw driver. Even though she has completed her MA and BEd, she is unable to find employment. She was not considered for SC backlog posts. Above all, her son (13 years old now) was born with a rare bone disease. As the boy ages his bones shrink and even bend, paralyzing his movement. He is dependent on a wheel-chair while he has to be carried to a toilet. Ushamadhavi is completely dejected over struggling to make ends meet while having to cough up around Rs 6,000 per month for son’s medical expenses. To make matters worse, she has no access to Arogyasri and her husband has been diagnosed with a heart problem. With such a huge family burden and no help, a stressed Ushamadhavi is now battling diabetes herself. She is ready to fight against all odds but unfortunately the government is not even lending a helping hand because of which she is vexed up with life. Her words, “I am fed up with this life anna,” pained me.

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Prior to 2004, the situation of the poor in the state was pathetic to say the least. There was no Arogyasri to help them. All they had was Chief Minister’s Relief Fund which was not available for all. A poor man hit by a serious disease had to simply give up hope. Neither was there fee reimbursement. People were forced to buy education. The then government pushed poor to penury by not providing education or healthcare services. The situation is very similar today. I am pained to see the state of the poor in the state. My wish is to restore all the welfare schemes introduced by my father, Dr YSR to its former glory. With this goal in mind I continued to take steps forward.

On the outskirts of Pasalapudi village, the Praja Sankalpa Yatra touched a new milestone—2,500 kilometers. This was possible only because of God’s grace, my father’s blessings and love of the people. The NGOs who met me said that they wanted the CPS system abolished. “Sir, this government practices double standards. In Telangana assembly, the TDP demanded that CPS be abolished, while in AP they want to continue with it. CPS is under state government and they can take a decision on it.” Status thus, they pointed out to the yellow party’s deception tactics. Explaining the reality, they said, “Sir… the textbooks which had to be distributed in April, have not yet reached us. How can we teach the students? So is the case with uniforms. On the other hand, private schools do not have any shortage of textbooks. This is the reason children prefer private schools over government.” The present government has completely commercialized education while putting aside the promise of free education from KG to PG. And higher studies for poor is something that is unimaginable.

My question to the chief minister: Is it not true that the numbers of students government schools are declining by the day? Is that not because your government is unable to provide textbooks and uniforms on time, as well as failure to improve basic infrastructure and make mid-day meals dysfunctional? Is it not true that you have sacked staff and even closed down many schools because of low strength in government schools? Is it not true that you have made the government schooling system invalid only to encourage private education as well as to benefit your benami educational institutions?