Chandrababu Does Not Know The Definition Of Women Empowerment

AP Leader of Opposition YS Jagan Mohan Reddy - Sakshi Post

Athreyapuram, East Godavari District: My Padayatra moved through the gateway to Konaseema, Kothapeta constituency. I was profoundly moved by the floral welcome given to me by the people of the region, along the path—the canal wall was bedecked with flowers all through. The traditional village life of Konaseema came alive. The canal on one side, dotted with boats with imposing flexis Navarathnalu inscribed on them, standing tall, carrying my father’s picture and moving gracefully in the waters, as I walked on. Coconut and banana trees swayed on the other side, in a scene typical of Konaseema. I took the beauty and fragrance of scenic setting in, as I walked on.

Farmers who came and met me told me that there was a time when they used to be mortally afraid of August and September. The rains in their wake brought destruction to the crops. “Your father, the late Dr YS Rajashekhar Reddy, changed all that. Today, thanks to him, we can sleep in peace during those months,” they said.

“Nothing came of the much-touted insurance scheme, Chandranna Bima, and in fact, Chandrababu Naidu forgot all the promises he had made,“ the toddy workers of the place said. “Sir, we have no one to turn to and this TDP government has let us down in every possible way. We look up to you now with hope and expectation.” These were the words of members of the Viswabrahmin community. Banana cultivation has become a challenge, said farmers and requested me to stand by them in the times to come. “Earlier, the government distributed wheelchairs and tricycles to the differently-abled. That is no longer the case. One lakh rupees is being given to the differently-abled who get married, but two such disabled individuals get married the benefit is not being extended. What sort of justice is this? We were promised scooties, but one year later, nothing has happened. We are still waiting. It is this government and its leadership which is disabled, not us,“ said some representatives of the differently-abled to me, their voice shaking with anger.

Women from Athreyapuram invited me with great affection, to be their guest, asking me to taste the celebrated Pootharekhulu, known all over the world for its sweet and delicate flavour. I learnt more about the process of making this famous delicacy which has placed this little village in East Godavari on the world map. I could not but help complimenting the women of this village, who with no government help or patronage, and only on the strength of their culinary skills and hard work, brought renown to this place, across the world. I was moved by the affection shown by one of them, Aparna, a deaf-mute girl, who offered some Pootharekhulu to me. She had lost her father and her mother was a daily wage labourer. While pursuing her college education, she stood by her mother, helping her. I blessed her praying for her bright future, as I moved on.

“For the past 20 years, we have been working as VOA. Over the past four years, even while we have not been paid our salaries, driven by hope for the future we have been working like bonded labourers. Not only have we been implementing government programmes in villages, but also been carrying out ruling party work assigned to us, even if reluctantly. Why is the government so unconcerned about us?" Women posed this question to me, as they narrated their plight, their eyes welling up with tears. They expressed their anguish saying the government was trying to sack them in the name of empowerment of women. Chandrababu Naidu diluted the concept of self-help groups completely and only tried to use them to further his own political ends at the time of elections. Chandrababu is insincere when it comes to doing justice to women's self-help groups and women in general.

I have a question for the chief minister—ignoring the service of women who have served as VOAs for two decades and instead of recognizing them as government servants, you are appointing hand-picked women groups as government employees. What does this point to? Isn't this undemocratic and unconstitutional? Using their services for your party work as booth committee members, isn't it a part of your design to make them a part of your money distribution network at the time of elections?

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