All Sections Of The Poor Have Been Cheated Under TDP Rule

Yerrayacheruvu, West Godavari: Today’s Tanuku has a thousand year-old heritage as a place of great cultural, spiritual and historical significance. It’s a town hallowed by the waters of Gosthani and made immortal by Adikavi Nannayya through his composition of the Mahabharata. The celebrated poet, Balgangadhar Tilak, hails from this town. My Padayatra today moved through Itampudi, Eletipadu, Iragavaram and Yerrayacheruvu.

The problems faced by widows who lost their husbands at a young age and had to face the travails that came their way, are manifold. Five such unfortunate women met me as I stepped out on my Padayatra this morning. They were truly in a hapless situation, with no assistance forthcoming from the government. They had applied for loans to the Kapu Corporation to be able to stand on their own two feet, but in vain. One of them was a HIV-AIDS patient and had to support a daughter. She secured a certificate after having enrolled her daughter under the girl child protection scheme. A year later, she still has not received a rupee, she wailed. There were two other such women who had believed in Chandrababu Naidu’s words and had not benefited from the Mahalakshmi scheme.

One of them told me that her daughter had secured a good rank in EAMCET, but because of inadequate assistance under the fee reimbursement scheme, she could not educate her. She had no means to educate her on her own, and this was a matter of deep regret to her, she lamented. Another woman told me that because she could not afford to educate her son, he was forced to become a driver instead of pursuing higher education.

I was deeply disturbed when I heard these accounts. I wonder what this government was doing if it could not support the deprived and the needy, who in cases such as these were the most deserving. These were specific schemes designed for them. What is the Chandrababu Naidu government doing? Why have schemes on paper if they cannot be translated into reality on the ground to help the poorest of the poor?

“Sir, from the time that the TDP came into existence as a political entity, we have been voting for it. We stood by Chandrababu Naidu even when he lost the elections. We thought that after having seen the late Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy‘s rule, Chandrababu Naidu would have learnt a lesson and would implement schemes designed to help the weakest of the weak. But not only has he not helped the poor, we now believe that he has not changed at all. We no longer believe that he can help us.“ These were the words of a representative of the Vishwakarma community, Satyanarayana.

He added, “If we benefited under any Chief Minister it was under your father. My daughter could complete her MBA thanks to the fee reimbursement scheme he had introduced. We could get free health care thanks to his pioneering initiative, Arogyasri. His large heartedness was such that his help reached out even to hardcore TDP supporters like me." My heart swelled with pride when he told me this. He further said: “We have no illusions about Chandrababu Naidu any more and will stand by you." I recalled my father’s words that help should transcend political affiliations and percolate to the needy. It should touch their lives, he would say.

Women from self-help groups hailing from Kattepadu near Gollaguntapalem met me in large numbers today. They told me that there were 39 IKP self help groups in their village. They told me that TDP leaders and Janmabhoomi committee members created fresh bank accounts in the names of these women without their knowledge. They further added that they also swindled approximately Rs.30 lakhs accrued as commissions from the sale of agricultural produce, in the last four years.

Again, this was something which I found deeply painful and saddening. On the one hand, Chandrababu Naidu makes tall claims and gives assurances at the time of elections about loan waivers and on the other hand, these poor women cheated in this manner! These women were now declared defaulters by the banks! What they were supposed to get as their due, has been misappropriated by the Janmabhoomi committees and ruling party leaders. This is the most inhuman aspect of it all!

I have a question for the chief minister—you had announced the Mahalaxmi scheme for the girl child with great fanfare saying that Rs.25,000 would be deposited in her account in a bank and that she would get Rs.2 lakhs once she became old enough to claim the amount. This was stated in your election manifesto. What happened to that scheme? Why has it not taken off? Is it not deception on your part to scrap earlier schemes? 
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