YSR: A leader with a vision
Tuesday, April 21
During the run-up to 2004 elections the incumbent N Chandrababu Naidu was the runaway favourite, and the farmer suicides were described as a minor aberration enroute the grand Vision 2020. It was Dr. Y.S Rajasekhar Reddy who took a three-month-long "padhayatra" to get a first hand look at the plight of the poor farmers who lived far away from the glitz of the Hi-Tech revolution in Hyderabad.
A man of few words, it was YSR who realized the futility of Hi-tech dreams being marketed by the TDP government and put the focus back on the agriculture sector which provides livelihood for the majority of the population. For five years he has delivered on every promise and more. With schemes like Arogyasree, Pavalavaddi, Indiramma and Abhayahastham the congress government have focused on inclusive growth. Five years on the agenda is still the same for it is only the Congress party that understands the pulse of the state.
Be the change
Saturday, April 18
After three weeks of non stop campaigning I have had the time to reflect the last couple of days. It has been an over whelming experience to be on the campaign trail meeting and interacting with so many people. It feels great to have received such a positive feedback from everyone. Reaching out to everyone and discussing my views, my visions and my difficulties has been a big learning experience.
Going back to my life before joining politics, I too was like any another citizen, angry, upset and frustrated with the system and the people who were a part of it. I sat on the fence and watched and complained. But I am glad for having taken the plunge into politics. When I look back I feel it was so much easier to just criticize and crib about the state of things.
But to make a difference, we all need let go of the comfort of the fence to come out and contribute to the change we are seeking. Unless we become the change we want to be it would be unfair to expect things to sort themselves.
Why CongressFriday, April 17
There is no greater test of character than adversity. The Congress lead UPA government has provided five years of stable, mature and effective leadership at a turbulent time in world’s history. Being at the helm in last five year period marked by a crippling global economic crisis triggered by the collapse of the Western financial systems was never going to be easy. Add to that an international fuel price crisis resulting in a worldwide food crisis, the challenges were formidable. Yet, India has been insulated from the worst shocks of the world recession thanks to the able leadership of the Congess government.
Armed with an unwavering commitment to development, the government has achieved an impressive growth rate of 8-9% in the last five years. About 1 crore people have been pulled above the poverty line each year, the global economic constraints not withstanding. The National Rural Employement Scheme has had tangible effects on the lives of millions across the country.
The Congress has been a trusted guardian of India’s democracy over the years. Be it the introduction of the Right to Information Act, the scrapping of POTA, the protection given to minority voices, and the safeguarding of citizens’ rights and women’s rights through a number of government policies, the UPA government has further strengthened the secular fabric of the Indian society .
The Congress has successfully held a coalition government together for a full five-year term and it can be trusted to do so again and the people realise no other party can guarantee the same.
Make the right choiceThursday, April 16
This is it. The time for reckoning has come to bring into force the 15th Lok Sabha. People often say that, in a democracy decisions are made by a majority of people. That is only half true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard by voting. That is why it is imperative for each one of us to participate in the election process by exercising our right to vote.
I sincerely want to take this opportunity to urge you all to voice your opinion through your vote. This is the only way we all can be part of a process we all like to call 'change'. To represent the great citizens of this wonderful city would be a privilege but it is more important for our own sake that we carefully study all the candidates and the parties they represent before casting your vote.
I urge everybody to carefully analyse the unprecedented growth trajectory of Andhra Pradesh in the last five years of Congress rule under the able leadership of YS Rajasekhara Reddy. It is a governent that has stood by the people and made sure the fruits of development reach every strata of the society. As a candidate of the Congres party I make an earnest plea to the citizens of the state to vote for the Congress party that has put the Andhra Pradesh on the path to all round development.
I pledge...Wednesday, April 15
The general impression about Secunderabad is that it is an entirely urban constituency and the residents here have the best civic amenities at their disposal. But the citizens know too well the problems they have to face everyday. Here is a blue print of my plan of action for the betterment of Secunderabad.
InfrastructureRefining the civic infrastructure within the Secunderabad Constituency is the essential to improve the lives of the residents. If elected, this will be of major concern to me and my team. An elaborate plan will be set up by me, with serious deadlines and priorities.
The construction of the Sitafalmandi road over bridge has been dragging on for over a decade and I will make sure it is completed on priority. The inundation problem during monsoons at Aalu Gadda Baavi continues and it is time it is addressed. The civic amenities in many slums of Warasiguda, Addagutta, Manikeshwar Nagar, Six number Campus, Lalapet and Chlkalguda need a re-haul. Under the umbrella of a development plan, we will look into Roads, water supply drainage, sanitation, health care and transport. Women’s WelfareBeing a woman, it is my moral responsibility to address the issue of women’s welfare. Aimed primarily at the under-privileged segment of my constituency, I plan to institute a special cell to empower, protect and guide the women of this constituency. I also plan on introducing a dedicated helpline for women on the lines of 108. Women form the backbone of our social structure, and I will do everything in my power to strengthen this backbone.Youth developmentIndia is one of the youngest countries in the world today with a population of well over the 50 crore in the youth category. This is an immense resource and needs to be harnessed correctly. Youth power is one of our countries greatest resources and multinational companies are recognising this fact, and are rushing to our shores.Youth development in the Secunderabad constituency will be of prime importance. I will initiate programs centered on youth development, self empowerment and education. Secunderabad has great history of sport but off late it has taken a backseat. I will initiate measures to improve sporting facilities in the constituency and make them more accessible to every strata of society. We will touch base with all the prominent sports persons in the city to seek advice on improving the sports facilities to the youngster.
Communal peace and harmonyPeace and communal harmony are the fundamentals of my philosophy. My office will do everything possible to propagate the same, not only in my constituency, but the country and world at large.
Civic SensePeoples involvement is important in generating a cleaner & greener environment and we will strive to educate people at large to ensure we maintain these standards of living. Being the inhabitants of a 200 year old city it is our collective responsibility to safeguard its heritage and environment.
I will work to set up a pro-active communication network between all citizens and vital services such as the Municipality, Police etc. Discussion forums will be encouraged, and suggestions and recommendations will be well received. More importantly, through this network we will strive to enable you to solve your own local issues with our guidance and support. These plans might look ambitious at this stage, but I believe that with your help we can make all this a reality.
Decision timeTuesday, April 14
Today marks the end of three weeks of the campaign trail so we took out a rally through out the constituency. Regardless of the pride and prestige attached to this constituency, there are many issues. The fact that Secunderabad has a large number of slum settlements, including the biggest at Addagutta lends it a unique personality.
But the issues are as multi faceted as the constituency. The slum settlements of Addagutta, Chilkalguda, Warasiguda and Lalapet are struggling for lack of basic civic amenities. Driving around in Secunderabad has become a herculean task with the roads overflowing with traffic. The civic infrastructure needs to be improved on a priority.
I have done all I could to highlight the issues in my campaign and now it comes down to the people’s verdict on 16th. It would be a privilege to represent the great people of this wonderful city, but it is more important for the people study all the candidates and vote for the person who they think can help them the most to improve their daily lives. I sincerely believe I have the wherewithal to make Secunderabad an even better place for its citizens.
Secunderabad deserves moreMonday, April 13
For too long now Secunderabad has been relegated to being the poor cousin of Hyderabad. I wonder why as history suggests otherwise. Founded in the eighteenth century as a British cantonment, Secunderabad had been the more glamorous half of the twin cities.
Secunderabd owes much of its cosmopolitan character to an alluring mix of cultures and religions, provided by settlers from all over the country. With an average literacy rate of 73%, Secunderabad is one of the most well informed constituencies in the country and it boasts of manners that are hard to find anywhere else.
Infact it was in Secunderabad that the IT story began as this is where the first IT companies in the city came up. Ironically all the development centered around the Hi-Tech city but Secunderabad had to contend with nostalgia.
But I want to change all that. It is time we show the world that Secunderabad is an equal twin sister and not an afterthought. I request the residents of this great city to help me turn things around.
My visionMonday, April 13
Secunderabad is more than just an Urban center and is faced with many civic issues. Today, when it rains the streets are flooded and traffic disrupted as potholes are common. There is an urgent need to improve the civic amenities in areas like Addagutta, Monda Market, Mylargadda, Boudhnagar, Warasiguda and Chilakalguda. Drinking water is erratic in many areas and such basic facilities must be upgraded and I will work with the municipal authorities to resolve such problems without delay.
It our duty to preserve the great heritage buildings of the Secunderabad and also fight to save its environment that has suffered as a result of rapid urbanization. I will support measures to restore the green cover in the city.
Those are just a few ideas to improve the constituency. But I will keep my eyes, ears and mind open for new ideas and suggestions from the citizenry. My office will be open to receive observations, complaints and suggestions from the people. If you share this vision join hands with me to work towards turning it into a reality.
I stand for... Sunday, April 12
After close to three weeks of campaigning I am glad that I have been able to hold my own with the people. There have been some ups and downs but the love and support that people has showered on me has been a big confidence booster. With just days to go I reiterate my political aspirations.
I strongly believe politics is an opportunity for public service, not for self-advancement. Honesty and integrity are the principles I have upheld all my life and will never compromise to suit the political convenience of the moment. My only purpose is to work for the well-being of the people of my I represent.
The people's choiceSaturday, April 11
With just three more days of official campaigning left people say that the most important phase of the campaigning has begun and ask me about special additions to my campaign. But I beg to differ. I do not see how what we do in the last few days can have a bearing on the voters. For the voters know very well what the Congress government has achieved more in the last five years than nine years of the Telugu Desam rule.
I have received a warm welcome from the people wherever I have campaigned in Secunderabad.The support from women and the youth has been especially encouraging. Every poor family in the state has benefited from the welfare schemes of the Congress government and that is our strength. I am sure the electorate will elect us with a thumping majority.
The helping hand Friday, April 9
The TDP and Praja Rajyam are promising many grand schemes and letting no opportunity go to prove their concern for poor voters but they seem to forget that it was Indira Gandhi who first launched anti-poverty programmes in 1971 under the slogan of Garibi Hatao. Poverty is the root cause of all of India’s problems and no one understands this better than the Congress whose history is interlinked with that of the country ever since its inception in 1885.
The Congress government in the state has tried to help the poorest of the poor in the last five years. It provided jobs with the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, waived the loans of poor farmers, provided Pavala Vaddi loans to women, built houses for the poor and made the best health care accessible to them through Rajiv Arogyasree. The Jalayagnam project when completed will bring one crore acres of land under irrigation. Compare that with the nine-year rule of the TDP during which the price of power increased eight times and farmers’ suicides were at the peak. No political party has done more for the poor than the Congress. The people know it.
Sonia is a perfect role model Wednesday, April 8
It was amazing to see the incredible response to Sonia Gandhi’s public meetings in Bhongir, Vizianagaram and Karimnagar yesterday. One of the foremost leaders of the country, the dignity with which Soniaji carries herself is worth emulating. It is unfortunate to see Chandrababu Naidu’s baseless allegations about her nationality and commitment to this country. When it comes to character and personal generosity, there are few leaders who measure up to her.
When Sonia Gandhi took office as Congress president on March 14, 1998, the party was in a state of drift with doubts being raised about its existence as a major political force. She played a decisive role in bringing the Congress back to power in 2004. Travelling the length and breadth of the country in a hurricane election tour, Sonia caught the imagination of the masses with her emotional speeches. Though singularly credited for that victory, she chose Manmohan Singh to take on the mantle of Prime Minster and left her worst critics speechless. She is the perfect role model for women in India.
Plain talking Tuesday, April 7
People have been making suggestions to me on what I should say in my campaign speeches. The most common refrain is that I am too soft spoken, do not criticize my opponents, that my rhetoric is too weak and that I speak in riddles and so on and so forth. At the same time many people have been kind enough to tell me how refreshing it was see me not talk like a politician.
I have a job at hand and that is to convince people to vote for the Congress party. The way I see it, words are a tool for communication and not a substitute for action. It is more important to hear to people’s problems than make memorable speeches. At least one member of every family has benefited from the developmental schemes of the Congress government and it makes my job that much easier. I can see people can connect with what I have to say especially young people and women. Many people who stayed away from politics have come forward to support me and I am confident people will vote for the Congress.
Leading from the frontMonday, April 6
There are leaders who take people to where they want to go but a true leader takes people where they ought to be. That is what separates the really good leaders from the rest. When chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy announced his farmer-centric policies in 2004, none of his opponents saw any merit in them and wrote them off as unrealistic promises.
However, five years on, the same opponents have pulled out all stops to promise increments over everything the Congress has delivered. But then people buy into the leader before they buy into his vision. That is why Rajasekhara Reddy was voted to power disproving pundits who were predicting a TDP victory. YS Garu set the agenda for the state five years ago and the people have reaped benefits. The one quality people look for in their leader is trust and the chief minister has shown that the Congress government has what it takes to translate vision into reality.
Actions speak louderSunday, April 5
The people of Andhra Pradesh are faced with the dilemma of choosing from the flood of election promises by all political parties. But it will be worthwhile to look at what these parties did for the people while they were in the opposition in the last five years.
Take Mr Chandrababu Naidu for instance. For somebody who served two consecutive terms as chief minister he could have done a lot in his individual capacity. There have been natural calamities, bomb blasts and many such situations when people were looking for help. They could have done some humanitarian work, started a college or a hospital to help the needy. This applies to all leaders who claim to be public servants. Public service is not just about what you do when in power, is it?
Congress will winSaturday, April 4
All the parties have announced their manifestos and with less than a fortnight left for the first phase of the elections the campaigning is hitting a crescendo in the state. On paper all the promises look alluring but I have no doubt the Congress will stamp its authority on the coming elections.
The track record of the five years of Congress rule speaks for itself. The YS government has delivered on every promise, starting with free power to peasants, Arogyasree, loan waivers, 108 ambulance service, women empowerment schemes or the agriculture schemes or the urban development schemes. The all-round growth in the state is there for everyone to see. That is what sets the Congress party above every other in the State.