Chandrababu Will Pay A Heavy Price For Liquor Policy

Jakkaram, West Godavari District: Temple priests (Archakas) met me this morning. They told me how they have been suffering under Chandrababu Naidu’s rule. They had traditionally survived on the income the temple received. However, the TDP government now drew up fresh regulations. 30% of the temple income had to go towards their salaries, it said. In particular, priests in small temples which have very limited incomes suffered the most. “On the one hand we have been described as government employees, but are not given pensions or provident fund benefits, salaries or even coverage under healthcare schemes.”
“We find ourselves trapped in a difficult situation now. Your father, the late Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy had envisioned a system under which our salaries would be paid from a consolidated fund which would be set up with 30% of the income of all temples in the state. His government had even come out with a GO on this. His untimely demise proved to be a tragic loss for us and impacted our lives seriously. After him, no leader has bothered about our plight. We hope and pray that you will come to power and will transform our lives." I have a clear, principled view on this—be it those working in a temple, mosque or a church, it is necessary for the government to help them and support them in every possible way.
“Anna, am I condemned to lead this life of misery? Will my dreams never get realised? I had aspired to become a doctor and serve my parents, but that now appears to be a distant dream to me. My father is a slave to alcohol and has made our lives a living hell." When a girl from Kalla village told me this, I felt deeply disturbed. “My father evokes fear. He torments me and my mother all the time. We bow our heads down in shame in our village because of him. Instead of thinking about my studies and career, the chronic alcoholic that he is, my father is constantly worried about his next drop of liquor and lies in a drunken state on the streets. My mother earns a meagre amount as a daily-wage worker and my father snatches even that away from her for his drinking. Anna, we need no help or assistance. Please ensure that these liquor shops are closed. They are destroying our lives." I was deeply disturbed by this experience. The girl sobbed as she described their lives.
To me, this was one more instance of how liquor in Andhra Pradesh was ruining lives and destroying family ties, thanks to the policies of the Chandrababu Naidu government.  It was yet another example of how alcohol turned men into monsters and how they would then torture their family members. Chandrababu had no answers to the questions raised by this girl on why she and her mother were forced to suffer in this fashion. He was only concerned about the revenue generated from liquor, and did not spare a thought to the havoc it has been wreaking in village after village, tearing the very social fabric of our society. This interaction left me moved. My conviction to drive away the monster of liquor from the lives of the poor got strengthened even more.
I have a question for the chief minister —isn’t it true that the corruption scam surrounding Pushkaram funds erupted in your tenure? Didn’t the Sadavarti temple lands scam and the Kanaka Durgamma temple land controversy take place under your watch? Didn’t you get the diabolical thought of giving away these temple lands to your proxies for a song? Can you refute the charge that the excavations for hidden treasures in the fort at Chennampalli in Kurnool district, happened under your directions? Didn’t the ornaments of the Kanaka Durga deity disappear under your rule? Isn’t it true that under your regime tantrik rituals were conducted and unholy practices followed, in reputed temples? Didn’t unprecedented desecration of the hallowed precincts of Lord Venkateswara’s shrine at Tirumala take place in your time in the form of protests with black badges? Can temple priests expect a better life when you, who have neither a sense of patriotism nor any fear of god’s wrath, are at the helm of affairs?
Back to Top