TAMIL NADU

Cong. rule marked by lack of progress: Naidu

HYDERABAD JUNE 26. The TDP president, N. Chandrababu Naidu, today launched a scathing attack on the Congress holding it squarely responsible for poverty and under-development of the State when it was in power.

Recalling the change of four Congress Chief Ministers during 1978-83 and three in 1989-1994, he said internecine squabble in the party had caused a serious setback to the development. Even the present set of Congress leaders were exposing their hunger for power by never speaking about development.

Mr. Naidu was addressing a meeting of the TDP's extended executive, including newly nominated office-bearers, Ministers, MPs and MLAs. He introduced his new team to the gathering and administered an oath to them. The two-day meeting is aimed at reviewing organisational matters and the Government's performance in agriculture, irrigation and power sectors besides discussing implementation of GO 610.

The TDP chief ridiculed the statement by the CLP leader, Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, during his 68-day-long padayatra that it was the first time he was seeing people's problems from close quarters. Dr. Reddy may be going to people for the first time but such interactions were a regular affair for TDP leaders.

He held that `the Gobbelesian propaganda' unleashed by the Congress against his Government would be rejected by people since the party was associated with corruption and power-mongering. Criticising AICC leaders for making `rash statements' about his Government during their visits to Hyderabad, he challenged them for an open debate on the performance of AP under TDP rule vis-a-vis the 15 States ruled by the Congress.

Complimenting party leaders for the success of the Jana Chaitanya Yatra, Mr. Naidu said they would receive public support so long as they helped solve problems. "I have no doubt that we will win a majority of the Assembly seats if we work with commitment,'' he said.

He said the re-election of 60 to 70 TDP MLAs in virtually every poll since 1983 had shown the public goodwill they and the party enjoyed. At the same time, he asked party leaders to understand that people would not extend perpetual support unless the MLAs served them.

Mr. Naidu said AP had been rated the `fastest moving State of the 1990s' in a recent survey conducted by a fortnightly magazine. Its GSDP growth rate was the fourth highest against 10th earlier. This was an indication that the Vision-2020 target of achieving a 9 per cent growth rate was achievable. Even a backward district like Medak had registered 9.9 per cent growth followed by Warangal with 9.63 per cent.

Reviewing party programmes, the TDP chief said the Government was dealing even-handedly with all constituencies. Yet, the party's stock was declining in some places, a matter that must be thoroughly reviewed. Noting that leaders in charge of some constituencies were becoming complacent, he said they must step down if they found themselves unequal to the task and pave way for efficient persons.

Referring to the State's dispute with Karnataka over construction of Upper Thunga and Paragodu projects by the latter, he said he was always willing to present AP's case to the AICC president, Sonia Gandhi. It was the Congress leaders who were afraid of meeting her.

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