Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy crossed swords with film actor Chiranjeevi by stating that public life was not a smooth sail and one should have the vision and capacity to think even out of the box.

Without naming the Praja Rajyam president, Dr. Reddy reiterated that film acting could not be compared with political life. “It is born out of struggle. A politician should be able to appreciate people’s problems, empathise with them and have competence and courage to work out and implement polices that will benefit the masses.”

Compassion needed

Dr. Reddy, who was reacting to Praja Rajyam’s charge that State Congress leaders were “acting” in the garb of implementing development works, told mediapersons here on Saturday that those in public life should have compassion to the people’s woes. “And sometimes politicians would have to be statesmen.”

He said he never tried to belittle the films or film actors nor named anyone. There were film actors in Congress also, he pointed out.

On TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu’s charge that the State government was forcing self-help group women to take loans and making them indebted, he said: “I pity Mr. Naidu as he has no clue of what he is talking about.”

Dr. Reddy reeled out statistics on the success of women SHGs and said the total loan given to such groups in 2004-05 was Rs. 1,100 crore; and Rs. 6,500 crore in 2007-08. Banks had plans to provide loans up to Rs. 11,000 crore in 2008-09.

To a question, the Chief Minister said the government was able to solve the naxal problem, which was very serious in the State, when he assumed office, through social-economic approach and administrative action.

Bonus for paddy

Dr. Reddy urged Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar to announce bonus for paddy, over and above the minimum support price of Rs.850 per quintal, which has been pending with the Centre for quite some time.