Will protect AP interests: Sonia
Sonia Gandhi: Will Protect AP Interests, The first meeting addressed by AICC president Sonia Gandhi in Seemandhra after the bifurcation of the State, held at the Andhra Muslim College Grounds here on Friday.
- Acknowledges people’s anger, empathises with them
- Even late CM Rajasekhara Reddy backed it in Assembly
- Says Telangana State demand was long overdue
- Speaks of adequate packages, Congress commitment
- All parties sans CPM supported the bifurcation
- TDP-BJP combine will destroy secular fabric of region
Guntur: The first meeting addressed by AICC president Sonia Gandhi in Seemandhra after the bifurcation of the State, held at the Andhra Muslim College Grounds here on Friday, saw a low turnout. Around 7,000 people turned up for the rally and the crowd remained indifferent during her 30-minute speech. Recognising the anger of Seemandhra people, Sonia during her address said, "I don't grudge your criticism or anger." “The State re-organisation was done in a manner that protects the interests of Seemandhra. It is done in full fairness to Seemandhra. I have no doubt...No doubt...That Seemandhra will become an economic powerhouse in the country. And, new cities like Visakhapatnam, Rajahmundry, Vijayawada, Guntur, Nellore will emerge as serious competitors to Hyderabad.” She took pains to explain the reason for the state's bifurcation, and asked the people to "look forward".
The AICC president said that she empathises with the people of Seemandhra but Telangana was a long-pending promise and it had to be fulfilled. It was not a unilateral decision but was taken after all parties in the State except the CPI-M had given letters to the UPA government in favour of bifurcation. Even late Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy had made the Congress stand on Telangana clear in the Assembly and he also did not oppose it.
Expressing concern towards development of Seemandhra, she assured that the Congress party would take care of the needs of the residuary State. The AICC president said the government had taken care to see that the concerns of the Seemandhra people were addressed, while drafting the Bill to bifurcate the State. Calling upon people to look forward to make the State the most prosperous one, she announced a slew of measures that the Congress party would provide for Seemandhra once it came to power.
The packages include new management institutions like Petroleum University, Central University, new airports at Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Tirupati, new railway zones and a port at Duggirajapatnam. She said it was her promise cities like Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Tirupathi, Kurnool, Nellore, Kakinada, Rajahmundry and others will be developed in such a way that they would compete with Hyderabad. She expressed confidence that the new Seemandhra State would emerge as economically powerful State in the country.
Referring to Hyderabad, that has become cause of heartburn for Seemandhra people, the Congress president noted that every family from the region had one of its members working in Hyderabad. She said, "My party is committed to protect the social, cultural and financial interests of everyone in Hyderabad. In line with this, the Governor has been entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring security of all in Hyderabad."
She also referred to the Cabinet decision to constitute Special boards for distribution of Krishna and Godavari river waters. Mentioning about Polavaram multi-purpose irrigation project she said since it has been given national status, the centre will ensure 90 per cent funding.
Similarly under special package, Seemandhra would get 90 per cent of funds from the Centre as a grant the remaining ten percent as loan and hence there was no need for any kind of apprehension, she added. Appealing to the people to vote for the Congress, she said only Congress would keep the promises made to the people.
Taking potshots at Telugu Desam-Bharatiya Janata Party combine she said they were two sides of the same coin and were old allies. The TDP continued to sail with the BJP even as other allies left it after the shameful Godhra incident, Sonia said. She alleged that the two parties had now come forward posing a threat to the secular fabric of the country. Union Ministers K Chiranjeevi, J D Seelam, Panabaka Lakshmi, APCC chief N Raghuveera Reddy, former Minister Kanna Lakshminarayana and others were present.