ANDHRA PRADESH

Congress promises package for backward areas

CUDDAPAH, FEB. 26. The Congress will implement a special package for development of backward areas in Telangana, Rayalaseema and Andhra regions if it regains power, said the Congress leader, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy.

Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, Dr. Reddy said pending irrigation projects would be completed in a time-bound manner. The irrigation and agricultural sectors would be accorded top priority as they would generate employment.

Dr. Reddy said the Congress was keen on checking rising unemployment and developing backward areas on a par with developed ones. These promises would be included in the party's election manifesto, he added. The Congress forged an electoral alliance with the Telangana Rashtra Samithi as per the aspirations of partymen and people.

He declined to comment on the former MLA, M.V. Mysoora Reddy's charge that the free power supply promise was not widely discussed within the Congress. He described as ridiculous Dr. Reddy's contention that most of the issues pertaining to Rayalaseema were resolved during the TDP rule and asserted that no steps were taken to resolve any issue during TDP rule. The Telugu Desam Party would have to be content with less than 29 Assembly seats and the Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu, should consider himself fortunate if the TDP secured main Opposition party status, the former CLP leader said. He reiterated his offer to the All India Congress Committee president, Sonia Gandhi, to contest for the Lok Sabha from Cuddapah.

The Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, would tour the State from March 8 to 10 and address public meetings in the three regions, he added.

The former MLA of Proddatur, N. Varadarajulu Reddy, the former Minister, D.L. Ravindra Reddy, the district Congress committee official Spokesman, N. Thulasi Reddy, and the zilla parishad chairman, K. Suresh Babu, participated.