Ananthapuram Sri Potti Sriramulu Nellore district: This morning on my Padayatra, a number of women met me at Kothapalem. As I was interacting with them, all of them said in unison that the monster of liquor was ruining their lives. They vented their wrath at Chandrababu Naidu for allowing free flow of liquor and said that the villages were full of drunken men, who consumed liquor at any hour and could be seen on any street. Once darkness sets in, women fear going out, they said. If they ventured out, women were harassed by boozers on the streets, they said.

Girl students were particularly having a hard time, they said. Preparing for tests and exams became a challenge for girls who needed to return later in the evening, they lamented. As for parents, they spent tense moments waiting for their daughters.

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There was a liquor shop on the way to school, they pointed out and added that robberies were on the rise, as were chain snatchings. They were vexed with the TDP government which inflicted this torture on them. It was not enough to shift the liquor shop in their village alone, they said. Unless liquor shops in all the neighbouring villages were closed, they would have no peace, they said. They sought my help and pleaded with me to do this good deed for them. I was disturbed at the anger and anguish of these women. Nellore is the birthplace of a pioneering anti-liquor movement and ironically today, it is this district where the Frankenstein of liquor is wreaking havoc on the lives of people. Women wailed about how their lives were being ruined, but all this seems to have no effect on the rulers of the day. How insensitive can they be? Is it so important to get revenue out of liquor and allow liquor shops to proliferate even if alcoholism destroys the social fabric, tearing it to shreds?

Further along the way villagers of Gottigundala met me. They pointed out that in the past, about 2000 acres of land was assigned to the poorest among them. Way back in 1995, people from other districts came here and with the help of the Chandrababu Naidu government of the time, and local party leaders of TDP then, managed to get fake certificates and also fudged records. In this manner they snatched lands which belonged rightfully to the local villagers, they complained. Subsequently, these encroachers began threatening those who questioned them on this. “During your father, the late Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy’s time, considerable progress had been made to undo the injustice done to others, they revealed. About 700 acres comprising assigned land were restored to the original assignees, they said. Over 1200 acres are still under encroachment, they said, adding that the matter was now pending in courts. After the Chandrababu Naidu government returned to power, villagers are once again at the receiving end of threats by those who had encroached upon their land. “We are being intimidated and tormented constantly,” they said. I wondered whether this government was functioning only for the sake of encroachers. If we inquire into how the assigned land had been given to those who migrated to this place 20 years ago from other districts, the matter would become crystal clear.

This is Chandrababu Naidu’s signature style of functioning. From assigned lands to temple lands—he spares nothing. The AP CM does not spare even the idol in the temple, leave alone the temple. Such is the rapaciousness of the TDP government.

In conclusion I have a question for the Chief Minister. Before the general elections you had said that Babu must be elected if women were to have security (bhadrata kavalante Babu ravali). This was a part of the tall claims you made about them. What do you have to say about the monster of liquor which is destroying the lives of the poor across the state, making the life of the average woman in the poorest home of every village even more miserable? Women, suffering under this constant harassment on account of the liquor menace, have taken to the streets in many places. What answer do you now have for them?