TAMIL NADU

BJP in A.P. launches 'Sasyasyamala yatra'

HYDERABAD OCT. 5. The State unit of the BJP has launched a novel "Sasyasyamala yatra'' at four places in Andhra Pradesh to highlight the urgency of harnessing the river water sources by executing the pending irrigation projects.

The State president, Chilakam Ramachandra Reddy, symbolically flagged off the "yatra'' from Sullurpet in Nellore district while similar ceremonies were performed by Union Ministers Ch.Vidyasagar Rao, Bandaru Dattatreya and Krishnam Raju at Tirupati, Srikakulam and Tandur respectively.

The BJP cavalcades from four different corners of the State would converge into a rally and public meeting at Warangal on October 12 to be addressed among others by the BJP president, M. Venkaiah Naidu.

But the timing of the yatra when the State is reeling under a severe drought raised a few eyebrows. The Congress-I ridiculed the ''yatra'' by a party which is heading the Government at the Centre. If the TDP and the BJP are sincere, pending irrigation projects could be expedited, the Congress leaders argue.

The senior BJP leaders utilised the occasion to hail the initiative taken by the Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu, to push the Ganga-Cauvery link proposed by K.L. Rao into the national agenda. But they were guarded in cautioning the State Government against ''dreaming about big projects'' instead of attempting the possible ones like linking the Godavari with the Krishna.

Predictably, the BJP leaders targeted the Congress for the neglect that the irrigation projects suffered. Former BJP president, Bangaru Laxman, addressing the rally at Sullurpet, blamed Karnataka for the plight of farmers of Andhra and suggested that the State Government seek constitution of a new tribunal to ensure proportional distribution of water.

At the Tandur rally, Mr. Dattatreya and others accused Ajit Jogi, Chief Minister of Chattisgarh, of stalling the Devadula project on the Godavari. The BJP leaders took pains to explain that the yatra was not against the State Government. The yatra is intended to educate the people and bring about an awareness about the urgency to utilise the river waters, the state BJP chief explained.

If detailed project reports are prepared and sent to the Centre, the BJP would not mind joining a State delegation to Prime Minister to get early clearance of the projects, Mr. Laxman said.

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