YSR Congress Party chief Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, on the completion of his 3,648 km-long ‘padayatra’ or walkathon, unveiled the Vijaya Sankalpa pylon and addressed supporters on Wednesday evening at Ichchapuram in Srikakulam district. Jagan set out on his Praja Sankalpa Yatra on November 6, 2017, from his home town, Idupulapya, in Kadapa district.
Addressing the gathering, Jagan called himself a slave to the love and affection of the people, and said, “Though it was me who walked, it's you and god who made me walk 3,648 km."
He then trained his guns on Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, and said that he was afraid about Naidu’s regime as there is an agricultural crisis, drought and unemployment in the state. Furthermore, he said that Naidu has a doctorate in cheating.
“There is no difference between criminals who make innocent children beg and Chandrababu Naidu,” he added.
Taking a dig at the rain guns proposed by Naidu to help drought-hit Anantapur, Jagan alleged that Naidu did things only for media attention, and that farmers told Jagan that they are fed up with Naidu.
“He (Naidu) went to Bengaluru and had coffee but didn't go to nearby drought-hit Anantapur in the name of national politics. He went to Chennai had idli sambar, and didn’t bother to visit the agonised farmers in his own Chittoor district, which is right besides Chennai,” he said. Chandrababu Naidu had visited Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president in November for forming an anti-BJP front.
“In the name of loan waivers, he cheated farmers. After he became the chief minister, he stopped paying the loans of farmers and as a result, they are suffering. I ask you all, did he give you minimum support price for crops?”
“The women’s self-help groups are being tortured by bank officials, and their loans have swelled to Rs 22,000 crore as he never waived or gave zero interest,” he said.
Jagan said that small scale industries were shut during Naidu’s regime, and that Naidu had given empty promises during the previous election.
Lamenting about the state of education and infrastructure in that state, Jagan stated that several female students had told him that their colleges don’t have toilets, and this came at a time that Naidu claimed that the state is open defecation-free. Addressing student suicides, Naidu slammed the government and alleged that it was due to their inaction.
“He (Naidu) mocked the democracy by encouraging defections and bought MLAs, but the same Naidu goes to Telangana and talks against defections. He changes colours faster than a chameleon.”
Revanth Reddy, a former Telugu Desam Party leader was caught red-handed by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on May 31, 2015, when he was offering Rs 50 lakh as bribe to Stephenson, who had lodged a complaint with the anti-graft agency. The nominated MLA was promised Rs 5 crore to cast his vote. Revanth has since defected to the Congress. Later, an audio tape of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu's alleged telephonic conversation with Stephenson also surfaced. The ruling TRS in Telangana had alleged that Naidu was the brain behind ‘cash-for-vote' scam.
Stating that this kind of politics should go, Jagan claimed that if he came to power, there would be an overhaul, and things will be transparent.
Jagan also promised that each parliamentary constituency will be made into a district, the administration of which should be accessible to the people, and answerable to them.
“13 districts will be made into 25 districts,” he said. He also said that there would be a village secretariat, which will provide jobs to 10 unemployed youth.
For farmers, he promised that they would be given free power for agriculture, eligible farmers for interest-free loans, and Rs 12,500 per year as financial assistance.
“Out of 85 lakh of farmers, 75% are small scale farmers. Their past loans have nothing to do with getting this assistance,” he said. Other promises made by Jagan include mandals having cold storage, Rs 3000 crore allocated each year to be spent through the price control board, co-operative dairy societies being encouraged, and food processing units in each mandal.
Concluding his speech, “I want to rule for 30 years. After I die, my photo should be in each house beside my father’s photo,” he said. YS Rajasekhara Reddy had covered 1,450 km as part of his foot-march, which brought him to power. Interestingly, it was Chandrababu Naidu whom he unseated from power. YSR died in a helicopter crash in 2009, a few months after he led the Congress to power for a second consecutive term. Jagan later quit the Congress, and floated the YSR Congress.
“I saw poor people, heard their stories of pain, have a sound awareness of each problem. I have the commitment to change the system,” Jagan said.