TRS chief's reversal of stand on power questioned

HYDERABAD, JULY 6.The TDP today attacked the TRS chief, Mr. K. Chandrasekhar Rao, for his turnaround in saying that free power supply to farmers was feasible quite contrary to his stand in 1999 when he won the Siddipet Assembly seat.

Mr. Rao, who contested on TDP ticket then, had challenged the claim of his Congress rival, Mr. Swamicharan, that it was possible to provide free power to farmers, TDP leaders, Messrs Umareddi Venkateswarlu, Lal Jan Basha and Alladi Raj Kumar, recalled at a press conference here on Friday.

They said the Congress and TRS leaders had learnt no lessons from the 1999 verdict when people soundly rejected the Congress party and were insisting that the Government should cut back funds on publicity and use them for subsidising power supply for agriculture. They justified the Government's expenditure on publicity on the ground that it was essential to educate people on various issues.

The TDP leaders said that the Opposition parties were hurling a variety of baseless allegations against the TDP such as misuse of official machinery and deployment of money and muscle power. But this tirade was clearly a defence mechanism to justify their impending defeat in the panchayat elections.

Refuting the charge of Congress spokespersons that TDP had bagged nine ZPTCs in Kurnool district by forcible withdrawal of nomination papers by rival candidates, they pointed out that local Congress leaders had not even lodged a formal complaint. It was quite strange that the party should first level an accusation and then constitute a fact-finding committee headed by former Minister, Mr. K. Ram Reddi, to look into it.

They justified the hectic electioneering by the TDP president, Mr. N. Chandrababu Naidu, and said the party had the moral right and strength to approach people for support in the party-based polls. The Congress leaders were getting jittery because they were drawing thin crowds at their rallies.

Asked to comment on reports of thin attendance at Mr. Naidu's public meeting at Jagtial, they said the TDP leader had arrived early at the first venue while the postponement was necessitated by heavy rain.