Saturday, July 04, 2009

‘There are no Maoists in Andhra’

HYDERABAD, 4 July: Chief minister Dr YS Rajashekar Reddy today attributed the absence of Naxalism in the state, both as an issue and a threat, during the general elections largely to the development in Andhra Pradesh during his first term.
“Soon after the Maoists walked out of the talks in 2004 their recruitment came down radically. Alongside there was considerable developmental activities. Most importantly farmers and their families were able to see the changes in their lives because of free power and emphasis on irrigation. Police too has done an excellent job in containing them consistently. Maoists had no option but withdraw from the scene”, Dr Reddy said in an exclusive interview to The Statesman.

“Despite Naxalism not being an election issue for the first time in over 25 years, I would still need to emphasise that we need to be on our guard. We just cannot afford to loosen our vigil even though we have gained the upper hand”, he said.
On what was the toughest part in this election, he said: “It was basically a straightforward election. Six months before the election, it was simple that we go through the motions, like campaign and candidates, correctly. But with the benefit of hindsight it does appears that we put in hard work. And that was only because of the new entrant ~ Praja Rajyam Party ~ which made it a triangular contest in some places”.

On the contrast in the election delivering a massive 33 Lok Sabha seats out of 42, but only 156 Assembly seats out of 294 to the Congress he said: “Six weeks after the results I can safely say that there is a common thread running through most of our certain seats we lost. All over it’s a couple of local factors that went against our candidates. In one instance if the candidate antagonised the cadre, in another the candidate detached from a particular community: He rejected the argument that it was a very close race between the Congress and the TDP-led Grand Alliance. “The TDP was never in the reckoning. All the six LS seats they won are by default. It was our mistakes that helped them win. Over half of the 90-odd Assembly seats they won, were again by default”.
On how he views the second term, he said: “There is plenty of work at hand. We have to stand up and deliver on welfare and development. We need to complete our irrigation projects without further delay”. When told that he appears to have set his eyes on the 2014 elections, he said, “That election would be much easier for us. But then we have just finished one election and it’s premature to talk of the next”.

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