Staff Reporter

LSP says Congress and PR ‘stole their thunder’

PR leader lists out sops offered by the party to the people

VIJAYAWADA: Representatives of various political parties launched into their opponents on the merits and demerits of their manifestos at a ‘meet-the-press’ organised by Press Club of Vijayawada on Sunday.

The meet-the-press became a battle ground for the leaders to assail each other and deviate from the agenda of the day, and to indulge in a smear campaign against each other. While the Congress leader talked about the development during the last five years, leaders of the ‘Grand Alliance’ retorted his claims. Journalists’ repeated reminding of the leaders that they were deviating from the topic went in vain. The leaders made every attempt to establish that their party was forerunner to introduction or conceiving of welfare schemes like Rs. 2-a-kg rice and health for all.

Lok Satta Party (LSP) Krishna district president K. Pattabhi Ramaiah asserted that Congress and the Praja Rajyam included in their respective manifestoes some of the well-researched schemes and thoughts of the Lok Satta. The LSP was first to announce health for all, and the Congress took out a small chunk of it and introduced Rajiv Arogyasri.

The LSP was also the first to use slogans like ‘silent revolution’ and ‘social justice’, which were now being championed by the Praja Rajyam, he claimed.

Speaking mostly on the history of election manifestoes, TDP city leader Tumati Premnath said that the Congress hijacked the Rs. 2-a-kg rice scheme conceived by TDP founder-president N. T. Rama Rao with an eye on elections. NTR had sown the seeds of pension to the aged and artisans, and now the Congress was making tall claims on this.

The TDP had promised a free colour television and a cash dole of Rs.1,000 to Rs.2,000 a month to every poor and middle class family.

Listing out schemes like free power to farmers, Rs.2-a-kg rice, loans at lower rate of interest, construction of irrigation projects and eight million houses for the poor, Congress district president Segu Venkateswarlu said his party would continue all developmental and welfare programmes in a more focussed and efficient manner in the next five years.

CPI district secretary S. Nageswara Rao and CPI (M) district secretariat member Y. Kesava Rao said their parties joined hands with the TDP to evolve a third alternative at the Centre.

BJP leader Srinivasa Rao said his party promised to deposit Rs.21,116 in the name of every girl child to discourage discrimination against them. The BJP would contest the elections with the slogan “Water to every farm land and employment to all,” he said.

Praja Rajyam leader Paturi Ravi said his party had vowed to provide monthly provisions like 25-kg rice, a kg of cooking oil, a kg of Bengal gram, half-a-kg of tamarind and a kg of salt for just Rs.100. Free power to farmers for 10 hours a day and domestic cooking gas cylinder for Rs.100 were some of the other promises, he pointed out.