I Didn't Quit to Ensure Justice to Seemandhra
By SS Chary | Published: 03rd May 2014 09:07 AM |
He saw the heights of power when Congress ruled the country for the last 10 years. Now, he is willing to sail with the party during its difficult times. Mangipudi Mangapathi Pallam Raju, popularly known as MM Pallam Raju, refutes allegations that the Congress divided the state. He reaffirms that the Congress was the last party to take a decision on the Telangana issue and had no other option as all other parties had declared their stand in favour of bifurcation.
In an interview with Express, the Union minister Pallam Raju, who is testing his luck for the 16th Lok Sabha, exudes confidence that people will learn the truth and accept that Congress is the only party which strives for them.
In the wake of bifurcation, the mood of the people seems to be against Congress in Seemandhra. What are your comments?
The Congress high command had given me a ticket and I am contesting again as its disciplined soldier. People know very well why the Congress, which was in power, had to play the main role in the division of the state. Whether the mood is against the Congress or not, will be known only after elections.
There was stiff opposition to Congress leaders after division, particularly blaming Union ministers for not resigning. How is the response from people when you are taking up election campaign?
The people are asking me about the role of the Congress in bifurcation and why I did not resign as an Union minister. I knew they would question me and I am trying to convince them by explaining that the Congress was forced to take the decision as all parties had agreed for bifurcation. Similarly, I had to be in the Union minister’s post to protect the interests of Seemandhra, if the division became inevitable.
What is the impact of division on the winning chances of the Congress in the elections?
Congress, which gave several benefits for Seemandhra region during bifurcation, requires to continue in the power to ensure that all promises are effectively implemented.
Why should the people elect you again and what are your promises for the constituency?
For the last eight decades, my family has been associated with the Congress. People have confidence in my family and I believe that they will support me. As far as promises are concerned, plans are afoot to connect Kakinada to the main railway line at Pithapuram which was has been for long. The State government had agreed to share part of the expenditure along with providing the necessary land for the project. The Software Technologies Parks of India (STPI) established a unit in the city and some IT companies have been providing employment to about 3,000 employees.
What are your achievements during the last five years as an MP for the Kakinada Lok Sabha constituency?
About `180 crore will be spent for the National Institute of Information Technology (NIIT) coming up at Tondangi on a 100-acre area. An Inter University Centre for Teacher Education is also coming up in the premises of JNTUK. Various labs have been set up at the university and `12 crore was sanctioned for the university by the University Grants Commission (UGC). A naval enclave was established at Vakalapudi to protect the seashore, double rail line between Samalkot and Kakinada was completed.
Who is your main rival?
I am not underestimating any candidate but making all efforts to win on my own strength.
Sea erosion is a problem at Uppada and its surrounding areas. Do you have any plans to prevent it and develop fishermen villages in your constituency?
To combat the problem, we implemented a geo-tube project at a length of 200m which prevented sea erosion successfully. It will be executed all along the area in a phased manner.
What your priorities if you are voted to power again?
Plans are afoot to make Kakinada a hub for education and develop the area as an industrial sector with agro-based units. Other problems such as supply of drinking water, roads and other infrastructure will also be taken up. The government has sanctioned `58 crore for the construction of jetti and a fishing harbour.
What if the people’s verdict is against you?
People are good judges and they know whom to elect and which party is striving for them.