‘Vastunna Meekosam’ to begin from Hindupur today

Hoping that his arduous exercise will catapult his party to power after remaining in the opposition since 2004, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N. Chandrababu Naidu is embarking upon 117-day ‘Vastunna Meekosam’ padayatra from Hindupur in Anantapur district on Tuesday, Gandhi Jayanti day.

The “longest” padayatra to be undertaken by a politician in the State, Mr. Naidu has his task cut out in empathising with the problems faced by different sections of people, infusing confidence and hope among them that he would fight for redressal of their grievances.

“Gaining political support will only be a by-product of my exercise,” Mr. Naidu said in response to his detractors’ remarks that he was doing it only to regain power.

The 117-day walk will cover about 2,340 km and end on January 26, 2013 covering 13 districts including Anantapur, Kurnool, Mahabubnagar, Ranga Reddy, Medak, Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Warangal, Khammam, East Godavari, Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts. Before flying to Bangalore from Hyderabad to reach Hindupur by road on Tuesday, Mr. Naidu will pay homage to party founder N.T. Rama Rao and Mahatma Gandhi here. He would launch padayatra at 5 p.m. after offering prayers at Suguru Anjaneyaswamy temple in Hindupur, garlanding the statues of Mahatma Gandhi, B.R. Ambedkar, Jyothirao Phule and NTR and unveiling a pylon, party leader Dadi Veerabhadra Rao stated on Monday.

Mr. Naidu has chosen Hindupur for the launch of his padayatra since it is one of the strong bastions of TDP and where it remains undefeated since inception in 1983. “After staying out of power for two consecutive terms, the party is facing make or break situation, particularly in the backdrop of Telangana movement and emergence of new political players like Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy,” a TDP senior leader said when asked about the need and timing of Mr. Naidu’s exercise.

As part of his efforts to woo back different sections that have distanced from TDP in the recent years, Mr. Naidu has been making frantic efforts in the recent months. Reiterating support for categorisation of SCs, announcing BC declaration and empowerment policy for minorities including assurance on allotment of party tickets in the coming Assembly elections were part of his efforts.

Mobilising cadres

Tirupati Special Correspondent adds: With time ticking away for the start of the Mr. Naidu’s ‘walkathon’, the TDP camp here is bracing itself up to take a huge contingent of the party cadres to Hindupur.

Since Chittoor district happens to be the home ground of Naidu, the party leaders are keen on mobilising a huge contingent of party cadres from the district and make a mark. As a prelude to the Padayatra, the Tirupati city unit leaders performed a ‘Yagam’ in the famous Gangamma temple here seeking divine blessings of the goddess for the success of the party president’s marathon trek.

The chief guest at the Yagam was the senior party leader and MLC, Nannapaneni Rajakumari. Among others who participated in the yagam were the Tirupati constituency in-charge, Chadalawada Krishnamurthy, senior party leader Neelam Balaji.

Earlier the same team had broken coconuts at the Alipiri ‘Padalamandapam’ and secured the ‘prasadams’ of Lord Venkateswara to be offered to Mr. Naidu at Hindupur before he sets out on his trek. Another reason why all eyes are set on Chittoor district in the context of the padayatra is that it was from this district that two TDP MLAs, Amarnadha Reddy and Praveen Kumar Reddy, very close followers of Mr. Naidu have upped their ante and indulged in a open diatribe against him on the issue of his writing a letter rather ‘unilaterally’ to the Prime Minister last week on the Telangana tangle.