Nadipallikota, West Godavari District: It was raining continuously right from the early hours of the morning. It was evident that one would get drenched if one were to step outside. For a moment I wondered how I would continue my Padayatra. I received different kinds of advice from my colleagues and party leaders. Some suggested that we should take a day’s break. Others said that we should wait for sometime, at least a few hours. My mind then went to the endless suffering people have been experiencing, the problems they have been narrating every single day and the tears which welled up in their eyes as they recounted their difficulties. I thought momentarily about people who were anxious to meet me and pour their woes out to me.
The very next minute I decided to continue with my Padayatra. People were waiting for me in pouring rain completely soaked. I was surprised to see thousands of people drenched completely and waiting for me in that heavy downpour. The love and affection they showered on me had far greater power than the downpour which drenched me. I decided to forego my lunch break keeping in mind the fact that thousands of women were waiting for me standing in the heavy rain. Any delay would cause more difficulty to them. I walked for about eight hours covering 10.2 km without a break and the highlight of it was that the outpouring of love of the people was such that I experienced no fatigue.
People came in large numbers to narrate their problems to me in pouring rain. Maybe they wanted to take a selfie with me. Many other women wanted me to name their newborn child. Others insisted that the first letters at the time of the child’s first ceremony related to studies and learning (aksharabhyaasam) should be YSR. My Padayatra moved on amidst such an overwhelming display of love and affection everywhere. Crossing Undrajavaram village alone took three and a half hours. This in itself was a memorable experience.
People there told me about the problems being caused by the contamination of water in the river, Gosthani. They wondered why this river which had been the source of pure drinking water for many generations had now turned into a polluted source. This caused them great anguish. The local residents told me that on the one hand, prawn farming was causing harm to the river and on the other, prawn factories were diverting their industrial waste and litter into the river, polluting it. The water has now become unfit for even animal consumption, they said. The river has now become a source of diseases, if they were to use it for drinking, they lamented. They said that the authorities were not bothered about what was happening despite their repeated complaints on this matter. It was because of the support of the ruling party MLA that the officials turned a blind eye to the ongoing problem being caused by contamination of the river, they complained. This is indeed a matter of grave concern. What is unfortunate is that the difficulties being faced by thousands of people on account of the contamination the River is a problem which is being ignored by the TDP government and the officials concerned. What answer can the government give to the suffering people?
I came to know that the Lok Sabha Speaker has accepted the resignations of five YSRCP MPs. People will certainly remember the sacrifice made by our members of Parliament. The YSRCP once again proved that it fought relentlessly for special category status to Andhra Pradesh.
I have a question for the chief minister—what do you have to say now? We have demonstrated our integrity clearly with our MPs sacrificing their Lok Sabha seats. You made sure your MPs did not resign you resorted to politics of betrayal. Can you deny this? Do you realise now which party has been fighting for special category status to the state and is prepared to go to any extent to achieve it? Who will be remembered in history as a leader who kept his own selfish interests above those of the state and mortgaged the issue of special category status for his selfish objectives?