YSR Congress stages statewide protests in Andhra



Accusing ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh of going back on its poll promises, the opposition YSR Congress party Friday staged protests across the state.

YSR Congress chief Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy led a 'maha dharna' at Visakhapatnam, in the first major anti-government protest since the TDP swept to power in May this year.

Large number of people including party workers, farmers and women participated in the sit-in at the offices of collectors in all 13 districts of the state.

Targetting Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu for not implementing his promise to waive all loans of farmers and women self-help groups, some leaders of YSR Congress demanded that a case of cheating be booked against him.

Jagan, as the leader of opposition is popularly known, announced that he would go on fast Jan 6-7 to ask the government to fulfill its promise.

The party claimed that the protest was a huge success despite police creating hurdles to prevent the gatherings, especially at Visakhapatnam.

Jagan urged the party cadres and people to agitate against "anti-farmer policies" of the Naidu government.

He said while the state has one crore bank accounts of farmers, the government has considered only 22 lakh accounts for waiver. He alleged that the chief minister was also not clear on the loan amount which will be waived.

Claiming that the debt burden of farmers and members of the DWCRA (Development of Women & Children in Rural Areas) thrift groups was a whopping Rs. 1.05 lakh crore, he said the government had sanctioned a mere Rs. 5,000 crore for the purpose.

Jagan accused Naidu of taking a U-turn on every poll promise.

He said the farmers were confused over the issue of whether their loans would be waived or not while the banks were imposing penal interest on their past loans.

Naidu Thursday announced roll out of debt redemption scheme of Rs.1.5 lakh each to 22.7 lakh farmers' families.