ANDHRA PRADESH

Naidu demands white paper on naxal issue

INTERACTION: Telugu Desam president N. Chandrababu Naidu with intellectuals in Nalgonda on Friday.

INTERACTION: Telugu Desam president N. Chandrababu Naidu with intellectuals in Nalgonda on Friday.  

Government cautioned against `taking people for granted'

Staff Reporter

NALGONDA: Accusing the Congress Government of mishandling the extremism problem, Telugu Desam president N. Chandrababu Naidu on Friday demanded that it come out with a white paper on the issue.

Speaking to reporters before winding up his two-day tour in the district, Mr. Naidu said the Government owed an explanation on what it could achieve by initiating the peace process.

"They (the Congress) had an understanding with them (naxals) before the elections and extremists were used for their political gains. Now it is not clear what could they achieve with it (the peace process)," he said advising the Government against "taking people for granted."

Wrong precedent

He demanded that the Government drop the idea of forming the tribal battalion to fight against naxalites. "They are setting a wrong trend by creating a clash between tribals and naxalites. If you are sincere, you can recruit more number of tribals in police and other departments," he added.

Mr. Naidu, who interacted with intellectuals, Government employees and representatives of various unions, declared that the TD would do its utmost to solve farmers' problems and eradicate poverty. "Whether I am in power or in the present position, I will go ahead with the two-point agenda," he declared.

All for farmers

A section of the intelligentsia told Mr. Naidu that he had to face defeat because he had ignored the ryots, who were under severe stress by that time. "It is wrong to say that I did not do anything for ryots. Still I feel that there is a scope for doing more for them," he maintained.

Asked whether people of Telangana region were demanding a separate State, he said: "You know that I am for the integrated State. Despite that there is a heavy turnout for my roadshows in this region. I believe that efforts must be made to eradicate poverty and backwardness from the region with a time-bound programme."

On the arrest of revolutionary writer Varavara Rao Mr. Naidu did not go beyond saying, "It is not correct to make a comment on a banned organisation."

Government blamed

Hyderabad Special Correspondent adds: The Telugu Desam Party on Friday said the Government should own responsibility for the developments that follow the ban on Maoists and the arrest of leaders of the Revolutionary Writers Association.

Addressing a press conference, TDP leaders -- Nagam Janardhana Reddy, Kodela Sivaprasada Rao and Kadiam Srihari -- said all through, the Government had been taking `unilateral decisions' on tackling extremism, without consulting the Opposition and other political parties. Hence, it is the Government that has to take the blame for the events that might unfold after the ban.

Peace talks

They said they were not aware of the kind of understanding the Congress had with the then People `s War during the elections. The Congress had also promised peace talks with naxalites and usher in peace in the State. But after coming to power, it had gone back and abruptly ended the talks. The TDP on its part had given an assurance that it would support all steps necessary for maintaining peace in the State.

They said they were amused by Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy's stand on the World Bank. During his election campaign he had gone to town against the World Bank loans and so- called conditions. He had even described former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu as "agent" of the Bank. Now Dr. Reddy laid out a red carpet for the World Bank chief Paul D. Wolfowitz and praised him sky high.

Taking exception to Dr. Reddy's remarks against Mr. Naidu, they said it was the Congress Government that had "back-stabbed all sections of people not even sparing naxalites" by making tall promises and not implementing them.

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