Now Naidu joins promises galore, offers free gas

April 29th, 2008 - 8:57 pm ICT by admin  

Hyderabad, April 29 (IANS) It is raining promises in Andhra Pradesh ahead of by-elections from four Lok Sabha and 18 assembly constituencies in the state next month. In his bid to woo voters, Telugu Desam Party chief N. Chandrababu Naidu has now promised free cooking gas connections to the poor. The promise by Leader of the Opposition comes months before Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) begins gas supply from the Krishna Godavari basin off Kakinada. RIL officials have informed the state government that the company would begin gas supply from June.

Addressing public meetings during his ongoing state-wide yatra, Naidu announced that if the TDP is voted to power in next year’s elections, free gas connections would be provided to the poor in urban and rural areas.

He said this would be viable as abundant gas reserves were available in the Krishna-Godavari basin. He also promised free electricity up to 50 units every month to the poor.

These are the latest in a series of promises Naidu has made in recent days, including Rs.2 per kg of rice and free electricity to farmers.

Interestingly, the Congress government has been supplying free electricity to farmers for the last four years and it recently began implementing Rs.2-a-kg rice scheme, which was first started by TDP founder N.T. Rama Rao in the early 1980s.

For two rupees today, one can buy four match-boxes, or two lemons, or just two toffees, irrespective of the state.

Naidu, who was against free-of-cost electricity supply to farmers when the TDP was in power from 1995 to 2004, has changed his tune in recent times. He now argues that the benefits of the economic reforms should reach the poor.

Desperate to return to power in the 2009 assembly elections, Naidu is making promises for all sections of society, especially the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and backward classes.

However, Naidu’s promise has come under sharp criticism from Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, who recalled that Naidu had done away with pro-poor policies after leading a revolt against his father-in-law and then chief minister N.T. Rama Rao in 1995.

The chief minister told a public meeting Tuesday that Naidu was trying to mislead people by making promises. He recalled that Naidu had made fun of the Congress party’s promise of free electricity by remarking that if the scheme was implemented, electricity wires would be used only for hanging clothes.

By-elections to four Lok Sabha and 18 assembly seats are scheduled May 29. The by-elections were caused by the resignations of Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) legislators over the delay in granting separate statehood to the Telangana region.

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