ANDHRA PRADESH

Minister’s ‘night out’ with villagers

G. Nagaraja

With district Collector, he acts in a street play



Minister gives patient hearing to villagers

Bowled over by the hospitality of a poor family



ELURU: It’s “Babu’s night out” for Minister for Minor Irrigation Maganti Venkateswara Rao alias Babu. The Minister spent one full night at Gudipadu, a Kolleru village in Pedapadu mandal on Wednesday as part of his six-day `Palle Baata’ programme. For Mr. Venkateswara Rao, the night halt by Mr. Rao, who has produced several films, at the remote fishermen village on the first day of the programme, has got all the trappings of a melodrama. A treat was in store for the rural gathering when the Minister staged a street play with himself and Collector G. Jayalakshmi as lead roles. The duo swapped their positions for a while and Mr. Venkateswara Rao got ready to face a flood of grievances from the locals in his role as a `Collector’ even as Ms. Jayalakshmi , playing the Minister, however, remained reserved, watching the scene. The villagers complained to the `Collector’ of the menace of mosquitoes, their village roads in bad condition.

Of course, the DWCRA women targeted the local manager of a leading nationalised bank, saying they were deprived of enjoying Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy’s promise of `pavala vaddike bank loanlu’. They accused the bank officer of levying higher rates of interest on the loans they obtained from banks. Later, he participated in a `bhajan’ at Ramalayam centre along with villagers.

Mr. Venkateswara Rao sat on a wooden cot and interacted with the village folks and slept with them on the floor in a community hall.

The Minister was bowled over by the hospitality of a poor family who hosted him dinner with the typical rural dishes. Accompanied by the Collector, Mr. Babu went round each and every household, giving them an audience which helped them find an outlet for their grievances. Speaking on the occasion, he said he decided to embark on the so-called Palla Baata programme in 15 mandals falling under nine Assembly segments from November 19 to 27 in his bid to spend time with people at the village level and get a first hand information on the life of the common man.

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