Ichchapuram, Srikakulam district: God helps you if you are sincere in your approach and if your resolve is genuine. Praja Sankalpa Yatra began 14 months ago in Idupulapaya after I paid respects to my father’s memory at his resting place. The Padayatra culminated in Ichchapuram with Vijaya Sankalpa Sthupam. After having walked through 13 districts over a period of 341 days, covering 3648 km,the Padayatra came to a conclusion today. That my father, my sister Sharmila and I, all three of us concluded our Padayatra here is in itself a historic fact, borne out by a sweet reminder in the form of 3 Sthupams. For three people from the same family to cover thousands of kilometres, meeting crores of people is in itself a very special event. Very few people in world history would be fortunate enough to achieve such a remarkable feat. It is only on account of God's grace and the blessings of people that this was possible. To listen to the heartbeat of millions of people, to learn about their everyday lives is indeed a great experience and my good fortune.
While listening to their tales of suffering, I was deeply pained by the fact that their problems remained unresolved for years on end. What was even more shocking was that it was the rulers who were responsible for most of the problems. The stories of suffering I heard were indeed heart rending.
I was deeply moved to learn about the suicide committed by a student belonging to the backward classes, Ankamma Rao in Udayagiri because his father, a daily wage worker, could not afford to pay his engineering fees, which had not been reimbursed and had piled up. A farmer sold his kidney to clear his debts and ended up as a worker in a small hotel in Guntur. This is truly pitiable.
In Kondakenguva, Mary lost the child she delivered travelling in an auto because of the bumpy ride and the resultant bleeding. 108 ambulance failed to come and this led to the tragedy. Equally heartrending was the sorrowful story of a 30 year-old Muslim woman in Vijayawada who, denied Arogyasri, and with no help forthcoming from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, was forced to sell her husband’s auto to undergo treatment for her kidney ailment. There was no one to support them. This interaction moved me deeply.
The untold suffering DWCRA women from Venkatapuram Dalitwada went through after having to engage a lawyer to go to court for believing Chandrababu Naidu’s promise of loan waiver was another sad saga. I came across widows over over 90 years with no one to turn to, the differently-abled with a hundred per cent disability and completely bedridden. I saw how the TDP rulers had mercilessly scrapped the pensions of over 900 people in Ponduru.
When the pension of Ammanamma, an elderly widow was stopped saying she was no more, she went to Court reiterating that she was very much alive. Similarly, when Metta Lakshmi's pension was stopped with the officials saying she was not a widow, she said she did not want her pension, but wanted them to bring her husband, since they claimed he was alive. All these are instances of the rampant corruption under TDP.
Seven tenant farmers committed suicide in the region known as the Annapurna of the state, Godavari district, in Gollaprolu mandal alone, reflecting the sorry state of affairs in agriculture. The widespread impact of flouride in Prakasam district, the kidney disease rampant in Uddanam region, these and many more tragic tales moved me beyond words. The pervasive loot of the state's natural resources, chief minister's cheques bouncing, the atrocities of Janmabhoomi committee members, the seething resentment in all sections of society against the TDP government, cutting across caste, region and community lines, the destruction wrought by liquor everywhere, tragic stories of migration, my Padayatra brought me face to face with countless such experiences.
Millions of people who had no one to turn to, walked alongside me. Their love and affection powered me along. My Padayatra opened a fresh chapter in the national political scene and ripped the mask of opportunist politics associated with Chandrababu Naidu and his party. All their conspiracies including the murder attempt on me failed and stood exposed, thanks to the blessings of the people of the state. This implicit trust people have in me, the faith they demonstrated in me, only strengthened my resolve to serve the masses. I recalled my father's words that it not how long one lives, but how many hearts one dwells in, which counts. I became even more determined to serve the people of my state with dedication and unflinching devotion. I have a question for the chief minister--my father's Padayatra led to pioneering initiatives such as 108, Arogyasri and fee reimbursement schemes. Can you cite a single welfare scheme which emerged from your Padayatra? While not a single assurance given by you during your Padayatra has been fulfilled, all issues including new ones, became thornier and more complex because of you. What answer do you have to the irate masses of the state who say that survival has become a challenge now under TDP?
Also Read: Ichchapuram, Gateway To Rajanna Rajyam