"Road project in State to be showcased for polls"

GUNTUR Oct. 26. The Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Ch. Vidysagar Rao, said that the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K.Advani, will launch the election campaign of the TDP-BJP combine in the State for the forthcoming elections at the inauguration of a section of the Golden Quadrilateral tomorrow at Nellore.

Talking to presspersons here on Sunday, Mr. Rao said that he understood that the elections to the State Assembly were round the corner, based on newspaper reports and reports from the electronic media. By providing good governance, the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and the Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu, had repaid their debt to the people of the State enabling the rank and file of both the parties to face the people with confidence. The construction of the Golden Quadrilateral was one of the greatest gifts to the State by the Prime Minister, as the 1,100-km long road passed through the State, the Union Minister said.

Mr. Naidu was able to garner rice worth Rs 3,000 crores under the Food for Fork (FFW) programme and had taken up several development works in the State, Mr Rao said. No other State in the country could make use of the FFW programme so effectively, he observed. The Prime Minister's Grameena Sadak Yojana could translate into action and transform road structures, providing connectivity even to remote villages. People's participation in the Government programmes had become the order of the day, he observed.

Mr. Rao said that the TDP-BJP combine would romp home with a comfortable margin and Mr. Naidu would again be sworn in the Chief Minister of the State. Asked how long a national party like the BJP would "surrender'' to Mr. Naidu, the Union Minister said "If we call it surrender, it would amount to undermining the sentiments of the people of the State. It is an electoral adjustment. That is all.'' To another query, Mr. Rao said that though the BJP did not give up its agenda, it is sticking to the NDA'a agenda as the party is running a Government with 24 coalition partners.

To another question on his reaction to the remarks of some Congress leaders that the Chief Minister is trying to derive political mileage out of the recent attack on him by the People's War (PW), Mr. Rao said that this was unfortunate. The attack by the PW was itself a very unfortunate incident. People had no sympathy for the PW. "Politicising such things is suicidal,'' he said.

However, had to eat his own words when asked if he meant advancing the elections by getting the Assembly dissolved too was "suicidal''. Mr. Rao, who until then talked about the "forthcoming'' elections, said: "I am ignorant and innocent of whether the elections would be advanced at all. I am only saying that the BJP and the TDP are ready to face the polls with confidence whenever they are held.''

Mr. Rao also said that the comments about talks with naxalites and viewing the problem in a socio-economic perspective, in the wake of the attack on the Chief Minister, were totally unbecoming of the political parties. He also expressed his doubts over the publication of a letter purportedly sent by the PW after the attack on the Chief Minister by newspapers.

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