Nation needs Congress, says Balram Naik
Up against buoyant Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the Congress candidate Porika Balram Naik faces an uphill task in the ensuing election to Mahabubabad Lok Sabha seat
Mahabubabad: Up against buoyant Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the Congress candidate Porika Balram Naik faces an uphill task in the ensuing election to Mahabubabad Lok Sabha seat. But this former Union Minister seems to have all the courage to face the might of reigning TRS. In a chit chat with The Hans India, he spoke his heart out about his prospects in the April 11 polls.
How is the public response to your campaign?
Indeed it is very good. People still remember what I had done for them during my stint as a Union Minister before 2014. I am confident that this time around people would vote for Congress.
Why people should vote for Congress?
It is Sonia Gandhi who gave Telangana. People might have believed TRS led by K Chandrasekhar Rao and voted for it in 2014. But at the back of their mind, everyone knows that without Sonia Gandhi's initiation Telangana wouldn't have happened, even though it was suicidal for the party in the Andhra region. In a way, Sonia sacrificed party's future in Andhra Pradesh. Even though others claim credit for Digital India, the real architect was Rajeev Gandhi who revolutionised Information Technology in the country. The Gandhi family sacrificed a lot for the country.
How do you fancy your chances, especially against the backdrop of two Congress MLAs joining the TRS?
Of course, Pinapaka and Yellandu MLAs – Rega Kantha Rao and B Haripriya Naik - might have joined the TRS, but the people are committed and they will continue their patronage to Congress. The party which has seen many such tempests in the past is sure to bounce back. Traditionally, adivasis support the Congress. It was during YSR regime, many podu tribal farmers got land pattas.
What will be your priority if you are elected?
First and foremost, I will strive hard to ensure the livelihood of tribal by solving the podu land issue. The Congress has already promised to establish an integrated steel factory at Bayyaram which is expected to provide thousands of jobs to the local tribal youth.
What were the development works were done in the Mahabubabad constituency during your tenure?
I was able to bring Rs 7,000 crore under Left Wing Extremism (LWE) developmental funds for the construction of roads and bridges. I also brought Kendriya Vidyalaya at Mahabubabad, Navodaya schools and Ekalavya residential school for girls etc. I also worked for the establishment of 100-bed hospitals in Mulugu and Manugur.
How do you see TRS and BJP chances in Lok Sabha polls?
TRS which didn't fulfil its 2014 promises is trying to hoodwink the people again with hollow promises. But the people have come of age and no more they entertain TRS in the Lok Sabha elections. Moreover, the TRS cannot do anything if it wins 16 seats in the State. The Congress alone has the capability to rule the country by dislodging Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre in the ensuing elections. Nation needs Congress and it will happen.