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'Cong. encourages separatist tendencies'

By Our Staff Reporter

NELLORE, JULY 7. The Chief Minister, Mr. N. Chandrababu Naidu, has charged the Congress party with coming in the way of development of Andhra Pradesh and alleged that it was encouraging separatist tendencies as part of a conspiracy not to allow him to work for the progress of the State.

Addressing a public meeting at Junior College grounds, Atmakur, 60 km. from here, on Saturday as part of his campaign for panchayat polls, the Chief Minister made a scathing attack on the Congress and asserted that it would not get any seats in the forthcoming panchayat elections. In fact ``the party would be wiped out and would not recover,'' he said.

Mr. Naidu said he was more interested in people's power in its true sense and accordingly wanted progressive development of the rural areas, for which the Congress had put up stumbling blocks.

He claimed that he was ready for panchayat polls immediately after the Assembly/ municipal elections, but it was not welcomed by the Congress. Mr. Naidu asserted that the credit for holding elections for the local bodies since 1982 went to the Telugu Desam Party.

Mr. Naidu pointed out that the Congress was in a state of confusion whereas the ruling party sincerely believed in strengthening and giving more powers to local bodies.

On repeated claims of the Congress to provide free power supply, he alleged that the issue was raised by the party only at the time of elections. Last time also such a claim was made and there had been no trace of the claimants since then, he remarked.

The Chief Minister, on the other hand, claimed that in the days to come, his Government would ensure nine hours of uninterrupted power supply to farmers and 24-hour supply to all villages.

He referred to the long-standing demands of Nellore district like full reservoir capacity of the Somasila reservoir and completion of the Telugu Ganga project. He stated that for total capacity, an amount of Rs. 170 crores was essential which had to be spent by 2003.

He referred to the immediate needs of Atmakur town, and said in view of the panchayat poll and the code of conduct in force, he did not make any concrete promise.

As part of Government's commitment to help the poor, he referred to a plan of Rs. 342 crores to bring 40 lakh families above the poverty line. The Chief Minister earlier administered an oath to all contesting candidates and appealed to the people to defeat the Congress.

`No code violation'

Speaking to presspersons at the helipad at Atmakur, he dismissed the charge of the Congress that his Government was violating the code of conduct in respect of panchayat elections.

It was for the Congress to locate where there was such a violation. He claimed that the Congress had lost faith of people completely. On allegations by CPI/CPI-M parties of Nellore district that there was a `flood of money and cheap liquor' to woo the electorate, the Chief Minister sarcastically remarked that `these parties did not have votes.'

He also did not agree with the view that panchayat elections were being held only due to a directive from the Supreme Court. He stated that his party had already got 26 ZPTCs unanimously.

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