ANDHRA PRADESH

Poor response to Janmabhoomi in CM's village

TIRUPATI Jan. 3. The 18th phase of the Chief Minister's pet programme, Janmabhoomi, is being received with mixed feelings, as reports reaching here suggest. The not-too-encouraging response in the first two days may be attributed to the initial sluggishness. As elsewhere, the picture at the Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu's native village, Naravaripalle, is no different.

A Tirupati-based press party toured Naravaripalle to gauge the public mood at the gram sabha held on Friday. Naravaripalle, 20 km from here, falls in Kandulavaripalle panchayat of Chandragiri mandal. The belt, nestling under a hillock, is known for its fertile soil and cool climate that often fetches a good crop. It also has the dubious distinction of staying away from Janmabhoomi and other Government programmes, as evident from the previous rounds of Janmabhoomi.

The gram sabha on Friday witnessed a lacklustre beginning at the gram sabha when the villagers started slowly converging at the venue. Even the singing of motivational songs --specially penned for Janmabhoomi-- by the artistes of Information and Public Relations Department, could not mobilise much crowd. A huge chunk of the participants who turned out was from the labour and Dalit sections, while the upper castes remained indoors or confined to their work.

After the 17 rounds of the "monotonous conduct" of the programme, even the officials could not think different to ginger up the show. The reading of the Chief Minister's message, the distribution of pensions, etc. did happen as they happened last time.

The gram sabha held at the neighbouring Seshapuram too would have turned dull but for the vociferous charge made by women of a SC DWCRA group of Chinna Ramapuram hamlet. They alleged that the women of the `other' group were being picked up for all posts, be it VSS president, schoolteacher or even ayah, ignoring them. They also put forth their request to the nodal officer for a path to the graveyard.

The gram sabha at Arepalle Rangampet village on the other side of Naravaripalle was no remarkable, except for the minor skirmishes based on party affiliations. The villagers are known for their clout with all political parties like TDP, Congress and BJP. It is this mixed bag that provided the audience a lot of fun at the gram sabha.

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