P. Samuel Jonathan
Chief Minister avoids contentious coastal corridor project issue
NIZAMPATNAM: The whirlwind visit of Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy to the coastal Guntur regions infused the much needed vigour into the party, facing the elections in a couple of months. The unprecedented crowd response to the road side meetings have brought back the smiles to the faces of the Congress leaders. The Chief Minister while sounding the election bugle, seemed to indirectly confirm the candidatures of some popular leaders, including ministers, MPs and MLAs, by introducing them to the crowds while others tried their best to garner his attention by putting up large flex banners.
Going by the way the CM showered praise on Minister for Ports M. Venkata Ramana Rao at Nizampatnam, it seems that he would contest from Repalle as the Kuchinapudi constituency has vanished following delimitation exercise. But sitting Repalle MLA D. Mallikarjuna Rao mobilised even bigger crowd at Cherukupalli as a show of strength. In contrast, Vemur MLA Satish Paul Raj was almost sidelined and the CM seemed to hint at the candidature of Kuchipudi Sambasiva Rao for the reserved Vemuru constituency.
The Rajya Sabha MP J.D. Seelam, vying for Bapatla Parliamentary seat, was too seen accompanying the CM, while Salagala Rajasekhar seemed to be gaining strength and mobilised large crowds from Bapatla. At Tenali, local MP V. Balashourie and MLA Nadendla Manohar hogged the lime light, while Chairperson of SC Welfare Board Karumanchi Rama Devi tried to make her presence felt.
By consciously avoiding the contentious ‘coastal corridor’ issue, the Chief Minister sought to convey the message to people that the State Government had put the issue on the backburner for a while. Instead, he repeatedly harped on the pro-farmer, pro-women policies of the Government on one hand, while training his guns on the opposition on the other.
He tried to strike an emotional chord with the women folk by stating that his dream was to ensure that every women SHG member becomes a ‘lakhier’. He also promised that the Government is coming out a old-age pension scheme which would ensure that every SHG member gets a monthly pension varying from Rs.500 to Rs.2,700. He also sought out to reach to the fishermen community by listing the many welfare measures like life insurance scheme, subsidised fuel etc.
In a speech laced with sarcasm, he hit out at his detractors, the ‘grand alliance’ of TDP, TRS and CPM and sought to expose the shift in their ideologies. On a hot and sultry day, the Chief Minister appeared cheerful and confident of the party returning to power.