ANDHRA PRADESH

Cong. accuses Naidu of encouraging defections

NIZAMABAD SEPT. 6. The Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee president, D. Srinivas, on Saturday charged the Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu, with encouraging his party leaders to lure elected representatives of other parties into the Telugu Desam Party fold.

Mr. Srinivas levelled this charge against the Chief Minister in the wake of media reports that the Dharmavaram MLA, Suryapratap Reddy of the Congress, was all set to cross over to the TDP. Terming the reported move unfortunate, Mr. Srinivas said the Penukonda MLA, Paritala Ravi, allegedly on the directions of the Chief Minister, had held discussions with Mr. Reddy and managed to take his consent to join the ruling party.

Addressing a press conference in Argul village in Jakranpalli mandal, after paying floral tributes at the samadhi of former Minister and his mentor, Argul Rajaram, the PCC president accused the Chief Minister and other TDP leaders of adopting pressure tactics and violent methods to settle scores with their rivals. He specifically referred to some "provocative statements'' made by a former Minister hailing from Anantapur district against senior Congress MLA and also a former Minister, belonging to the same district.

He said the party viewed seriously the developments in Anantapur district and a meeting with senior leaders would be held soon to discuss threadbare the situation.

The PCC president demanded that the Government ensure at least nine-hour power supply to the farm sector. He said there were complaints from ryots that they were not getting power for more than four hours. He said despite the erratic power supply, APTRANSCO officials continued to harass farmers to clear the power arrears. He said it was ridiculous on the part of the APTRANSCO staff to pressure farmers to clear the dues without giving them any time. He said though the farmers in the State were in the grip of severe drought, APTRANSCO officials continued to collect power dues.

He took objection to the remarks made by the Chief Minister that Congress leaders were politicising the irrigation and drinking water issues. He said the Congress as a political party was right in raising issues concerning people and treating it as politicisation was not correct. He said the Government instead of seeking positive cooperation from the Opposition parties accused them of not supporting the Government.

He said inter-State disputes are between two Governments and not between two different parties. He said in the case of Karnataka, the Chief Minister had time and again accused State Congress party leaders of not supporting the Government's stand on the Krishna waters issue. Mr. Srinivas said this was not true as the Congress had sent its leaders in all-party delegations on important issues.

Referring to the State Government's failure to raise the Alamatti issue in the right perspective, Mr. Srinivas alleged that the Chief Minister could not provide the necessary documentary evidence to the Supreme Court with regard to the violations in the Alamatti reservoir. He reminded the Chief Minister, on his volte face with regard to the interlinking of rivers. He said the Chief Minister first floated the idea but later withdrew citing different reasons.

The Armoor MLA, B. Goverdhan, the Bodhan MLA, P. Sudarshan Reddy, the DCC president, S. Gangaram, the PCC joint secretary, Puppala Shoba, and the district Youth Congress chief, Mara Chandramohan, were present.

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