Hyderabad: Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu who returned to Hyderabad after a successful completion of a 2,800-kilometre Padyatra or walkathon on Sunday, lamented the conditions in Andhra Pradesh, including lack of water.
Naidu, who was given a rousing reception by thousands of his party workers and supporters at the Hyderabad International Airport upon his return from Visakhapatanam today, said that it pained him immensely to see how the people across the state specially in the rural areas were suffering due to the failure of the Congress government and rampant corruption.
“Today Andhra Pradesh has turned into Andhera Pradesh (the state of darkness)”, he said. “But I promise to bring back the state which I had left 9 years ago”, he said.
Sixty-three-year-old Naidu’s “Vastunna…meekosam” (I am coming for you) padyatra was historic because no politician has ever undertaken such a long visit. Congress leader and former chief minister Y S Rajashekhar Reddy walked for 1,600 kilometres in 1993. Now his daughter Sharmila was trying to do an even longer walk.
He ended the 2,817-kilometres walk, which took him 208 days, by unveiling a 64-foot high pylon and holding a huge public meeting in Visakhapatanam yesterday.
Naidu appeared elated that his Padyatra was able to rejuvenate his party’s rank and file and put the party on the track ahead of next elections. He was confident
that the party will return to power in the coming assembly elections.
“We will wage a dharmayuddham [war for justice] along with the masses to save the state from the clutches of the Congress party”, Naidu said. “We will win this mass struggle with the people’s support”, he added.
Lashing out at all political opponents, Naidu said the ruling Congress party was drenched in corruption. “Jagan’s party (YSRCP) is a party of looters and Telangana Rashtra Samiti was a farm house party”, he said.
“On the other hand Telugu Desam provided a clean government which put Hyderabad city on the world map and developed it in to a big destination of foreign investments”, said Naidu, who ruled the state as Chief Minister from 1995 to 2004 before losing to Congress in two subsequent elections.
Naidu said that terrorism and rowdyism was on the rise, as he recalled that Hyderabad was rocked by repeated bomb blasts during Congress’ rule. He promised to eradicate the menace of terrorism. “There were blasts in Mecca Masjid, Lumbini Park, Gokul Chat and now in Dilsukhnagar”, he said.
On the other hand, Naidu said TDP rule was marked by the all-round development of Hyderabad. “International Airport, Outer Ring Road, Cyber Tower, everything was built during TDP rule”, he said.
Naidu was brought in a massive procession to the venue of the public meeting at Shamshabad marking the successful completion of his walk. Popular film star Balakrishna was among the leaders who welcomed him.
Talking about his Padyatra, which started on October 2 last year from Hindupur in Anantapur district, Naidu said that it was the suffering of the people which made him walk all the way. “Such a long and unprecedented walk was possible only with the support of my party workers and the masses”, he said.
In Visakhapatanam he addressed a mammoth gathering assuring the people that he will fulfill all the promises he made during his walkathon.
Promises he made included writing off all the agricultural loans and remunerative prices to farmers, closing of the liquor shops in the villages, and setting up of a special court to try cases of violence against women. He also promised to give monthly unemployment allowance for the educated youth as well as sub plans of Rs100 billion (Dh6.7 billion) for Backward Classes and a reservation for the Kapu caste.