TDP faces Polavaram questions
My stance on Telangana has not shifted an inch since the 2004 election: Let Telangana come. Let justice be done to all sections and all regions. But while we deliberate on that issue, we must not neglect development -- particularly of Telangana.That is why we took up the Pranahitha-Chevella, Alisagar, Gutpha, Bhima, Nettempad, and Devadula projects in Telangana. We gave each of them unstoppable momentum and succeeded in completing the Alisagar and Gutpha projects. That is also why we have taken up the Polavaram and Pulichintala projects, something no other government had the guts or the gumption to do in 60 years.The people of six districts have waited decades dreaming of these projects. The people of Vizag thirst for the water of Polavaram. The people of Krishna pray for it. Each time a farmer in East or West Godavari drags a plough in his field, he hopes Polavaram will one day deliver him from his hardship. Every farmer in Guntur and Prakasam consoles himself that when Pulichintala comes, he will reap a good harvest and send his son to engineering college. As politicians we don’t have the right to play with these dreams. That’s why we have resolved to make them come true. We will. Our resolve is not new. We expressed it in clear and unambiguous terms in our manifesto in 2004, when we were in an alliance with TRS. People trusted us and we proceeded to build these projects, even if the TRS and the CPM tried everything in their power to obstruct them, by raising unfounded objections in the courts and on every forum available to them.Our stance was and is this: development cannot wait for politicians to finish playing their games.Why are Polavaram and Pulichintala issues in this election? Because they are both projects to which the TRS has raised an objection.In fairness, we must all admit that the people of coastal Andhra have not raised a word against the Pranahitha-Chevella, Alisagar, Gutpha and the Bhima projects. They have not said a word against locating the IIT in Medak. But Polavaram and Pulichintala are red rags to the TRS. And the TDP, which keeps the company of the TRS, is now knocking on the doors of the farmers of Krishna, Godavari, Guntur and Prakasam asking for their votes.So Mr Chandrababu Naidu must answer the questions of these farmers: In a separate Telangana state, what will be the future of these two projects? Will you prevail upon your ally to stop objecting to these projects? Will you build those projects in the face of their opposition? We have. Will you? These are not my questions. They are the questions of every farmer in these districts. They must be answered. Mr Naidu must realize that changing his stance on Telangana is not the same thing as changing a set of clothes. He must also explain how he will manage the fallout of that change and still do justice to all the regions. So far, he has not explained where he stands on some of the things Mr KCR has said and done vis a vis the interests of the people of other regions. It was Mr KCR who went on record saying that educational institutions run by people from coastal Andhra have no place in Telangana. It was Mr KCR who said coastal Andhra people running small eateries must go out of business. What is Mr Naidu’s answer to these undemocratic statements? Has he discussed them with Mr KCR? That is why I have all along maintained that only the Congress has a mature stance on the Telangana issue. Let us build a consensus on it. Let us protect the interests of all regions. Let us weigh the consequences. Let the Assembly committee do its work. Let the second SRC consider all angles.That is what sagacity is all about. That is what leadership is all about.I have said it before and I will say it again: Only the Congress can bring justice to Telangana. Only the Congress can bring justice to Andhra. Only the Congress can bring justice to Rayalaseema. Only the Congress can bring justice to Andhra Pradesh. That is why our stance has been unflinching.We will not double cross the people of any region. It is my sincere hope that the TDP will not succumb to such temptations. I say to Mr Naidu: you have betrayed that poor farmer of Polavaram and Pulichintala once. Please do not do it again.