Do you have an inch of moral ground to talk about values?

Nallajarla, West Godavari District:Along every step of the way today, I met scores of the ill and the infirm, who were badly affected by the narrowing down of the landmark healthcare initiative, Arogyasri, which was introduced by my father, the late Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy, to ensure that the suffering masses have access to the best of medical care.  Among the people who came to me today during the course of my Padayatra were those who had sold whatever assets they had to meet the expenses of medical treatment. There were others who sank into huge debts, yet others who could not afford to continue the treatment and gave up midway. There were some others who could not afford medicare and despite the suffering caused by the affliction, pinned their hopes in God and resorted to herbal treatment.

“Anna, my father-in-law suffers from cancer and we don’t have the means to get him treated. We have left it to God to cure him,“ said Jyothi, a helpless woman. Bhupathi Rao and Durga Prasad, who met me told me that their kidneys had got completely damaged, and they could not afford healthcare. Sreenubabu said that in order to earn his livelihood he climbed up coconut trees and one day when he fell down, he broke his back as a result of which he suffered from serious disability. He ended up spending lakhs of rupees on his treatment, but to no avail. These were among hundreds of people who met me today, highlighting the manner in which Arogyasri had been completely diluted by the Chandrababu Naidu government.

With extraordinary vision and foresight, our ancestors had ensured that succeeding generations have lakes everywhere across villages and towns in the countryside. However, the rapacious greed of the TDP leaders is such that these lakes and water bodies are rapidly getting endangered. It would not be an exaggeration to say that practically every single constituency which I toured so far, had apprehensions and complaints about sand mining mafia and land grabbing.

Be it land owned by Dalits or ex-servicemen, who had sacrificed their lives for the country, TDP men went about grabbing it illegally with impunity. The lake at Narayanapuram was in a pathetic state. A local farmer, Kesireddy, showed me pictures of the condition it had now been reduced to under TDP rule. Women from Dubacherla told me how TDP leaders had bulldozed their homes of over thirty years by the lakeside with utter arrogance. “They destroyed our homes and left those owned by people loyal to TDP alone,"they pointed out angrily.

Chandrababu Naidu talks about honesty and integrity; he speaks of lofty constitutional values and claims that there is no corruption involved in sand mining activities! This is probably the greatest irony of them all!

I have a poser to the chief minister—you don’t have to go very far. The lake in Nimmakuru, the legendary NTR’s village which your son, IT and Panchayat Raj Minister has adopted, itself offers a prime example of sand mining which I witnessed
myself.  When this is the reality on the ground, do you have any moral right to talk about values?

You have not only bought over 23 YSRCP MLAs, like cattle, but have watered down the high office of the speaker and have ensured that they do not get disqualified under the anti-Defection Act. You have even made four of them ministers!  Do you think this gives you the moral right to preach constitutional values?  In an unprecedented event in the history of South India, you were caught red-handed trying to win over legislators luring them with large amounts.  For three years now you have been forced to maintain disturbing, uncomfortable silence on the issue of your voice on the audio tape.  Now, you find yourself at the thin end of the wedge after forensic labs have conclusively established that it is your voice in the taped conversation.  In the light of all this, do you have an inch of moral ground to talk about values?

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