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TRS to stay out of AP govt: Reddy

May 13, 2004 17:13 IST

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister-designate YS Rajasekar Reddy said he alone will take oath of office tomorrow, and would form his Cabinet within the next five to six days.

Reddy, who called on Congress president Sonia Gandhi Thursday to discuss government formation in the state, said the Telengana Rashtriya Samiti, a pre-poll ally of the Congress in the state, would not be a part of the government.

The TRS, Reddy said, was not interested in being part of the government. "Our party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad has said our doors are open. But they said they are not interested. They are more interested to get a separate state, through the Central Government.

The first order of business of his government, Reddy said, was to provide "free power to the farmers." The government would, he added, ensure that there was no pilferage of power, and also that there would be no hike in power tariffs for the next three years, honoring promises made in the party's election manifesto.

Defending his party's decision to give free power to farmers with the state's finances in bad shape, Reddy said the overall state budget was Rs 43,000 crore this year. "Finding Rs 300 crore (towards free power supply) is not difficult. We will find it."

Claiming that the state government's publicity bill came to around Rs 350 crore (during the tenure of outgoing Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu), Reddy said "We do not want the Chief Minister's face to be shown every day."

The new government's priorities will be agriculture, irrigation and rural economy, Reddy said, "Come what may, farmers will not have to commit suicide or be forced into debt."

"We will make the local Mandal Revenue Officer (MRO) responsible if a farmer commits suicide", he said, adding that existing laws needed to be implemented properly.

Reddy said his government would endeavour to bring cooperative banks back on the rails, and provide necessary help to the farming community. Asked whether the new government would continue existing programs such as the 'Janma Bhoomi', Reddy said "It (Janma Bhoomi) will be replaced by a better program which will do good for the people. However, the new government will not undo any programme just because it was started by the previous government."

He said rather than abandon existing programs, his government would seek to identify and plug loopholes so the programs could function better.

Dismissing suggestions that the IT sector would receive a setback under the new dispensation, Reddy said under the Telugu Desam Party government, the IT sector had not made sufficient strides. In the last seven years, the state had slid from number three to number five in the list of leading software exporters, he pointed out.

"We will give a transparent and credible government," Reddy promised.

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