December 5, Kottalapalli, Anantapur District

Today, the Praja Sankalpa Yatra entered Tadapatri Assembly Constituency. As I set foot on Tadapatri soil, I felt as if I was back in my grandmother’s place as my mother hails from this region. I have an emotional bond with Tadapatri for this reason.

Along the way, the Golden Café in Gooty offered me a cup of tea. The tea was as refreshing as his warmth and affection. Then, a couple brought their newborn and wanted me to name him after my late father, Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy. My father loved everyone regardless of their caste, creed, religion, group or political affiliation. No wonder, thousands of proud parents want their little ones to be named after my late father. Indeed, they want to see his radiance reflected in the guileless smile of their child.

A former employee of the RTC, Tippaiah, met me today. He had joined the RTC in 1981 and retired in 2015 after 34 long years of service. His last drawn salary was Rs 32500. But, the pension he is getting today is a paltry Rs 2410. How can a family survive if its income drops from Rs 32500 to Rs 2410? Similarly, several linemen and junior assistants in the electricity department had identical things to say. They now earn around Rs 30000 a month. Once they retire, they will have to struggle to make both ends meet with a pension of just Rs 2000. Imagine their plight of having to manage with such a meager amount! It is sad that despite years of service to the organization and the Government, people are left to fend for themselves after retirement. Once we come to power, we will ensure that the employees of various government departments and PSUs get their retirement benefits in full. We shall initiate steps to ensure that their post-retirement life is peaceful and without any financial problems.

I was appalled to learn of the Appecharla incident that occurred in this constituency. A people’s representative was brutally killed at a government office in broad daylight. For the last two weeks, there have been consistent attempts to terrorise the witnesses. The police picket in the village did nothing to prevent damage to the assets and farm wells of the witnesses. Their lands were dug using JCBs right in the presence of the very police who were deployed to protect them. The patta lands they were tilling for years were sought to be taken over claiming that the land belonged to the Government. They even tried to mow down their houses using earth movers. When these hapless people approached the MRO to seek permission for borewells in order to breathe life into their damaged crops, they were told to go to the very MLA, at whose behest the reign of terror was unleashed.

Is this democracy? Is this the way a government protects the lives of its people. Is this the way the authorities maintain law and order in the State? The cruel faction culture, unbridled rowdyism and utter despotism ruling the roost here in this constituency should be rooted out forthwith. There is a dire need for a change of mindset among the powers that be!!