Rahul promises Rs 4,000 per month pension for elderly
DECCAN CHRONICLE | Pillalamarri Srinivas
Khammam: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday announced that the Aasara pension that is given to aged persons and widows would be enhanced from Rs 2,000 to Rs 4,000. The assurance, announced at the massive Telangana Garjana meeting in Khammam is significant in the backdrop of various surveys indicating that the BRS vote is intact among beneficiaries of the pension scheme, while it has lost its base considerably among younger voters.
The announcement of the Cheyutha scheme completed the trilogy, after the Warangal Farmers’ Declaration and Hyderabad Youth Declaration. Gandhi, who began his speech to a rapturous response by saying, "I am delighted to be back in Telangana after the Bharat Jodo Yatra again…", announced that the Congress government which will be formed after the next state Assembly elections, will give a pension of Rs 4,000 per month to senior citizens, physically handicapped, artisans and other categories.
The Congress will repeat the Karnataka phenomenon in Telangana, where the party stood with common and poor people, with the Dalits, tribals, OBCs, minorities, women, farmers, students, unemployed youth, small business folks against the might of a corrupt oppressive state government, backed by big billionaires, and defeated them, the former AICC president thundered at the mammoth public meeting here on Sunday evening.
The announcement of doubling all pensions, currently fixed at `2,000 per month by the BRS government, led to another thunderous ovation from the sea of people, who made it to the venue despite the allegedly numerous hardships imposed by the ruling party members, from denial of RTC buses to police blockades and seizure of vehicles and cabs, to ensure most volunteers and the general public did not find it easy to attend the Telangana Jana Garjana meeting.
But those who came, including those who arrived from other districts, did roar every time the name of either TPCC president A. Revanth Reddy or CLP leader Mallu Bhatti Vikaramarka, who concluded his 110-day-odd long, over 1,200-km People’s March, or former MP Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy’s name was mentioned.
Srinivas Reddy, who formally joined the Congress at the event, was seen trying to calm people down when they erupted into a "PM, PM" chant the moment Rahul Gandhi began to deliver his lecture.
"The Congress has stood by its ideology of love and uniting all citizens, against the communal and divisive agenda of the BJP. We could do so because you, the Congress workers, are the backbone of our party, our strength. We were able to defeat BJP in Karnataka because of you. We will defeat the B-team of BJP, the BRS, in Telangana with your strength," Rahul Gandhi said.
The deafening applause and incessant slogans left Congress MP N. Uttam Kumar Reddy, who was interpreting the speech from Hindi to Telugu, scrambling to re-check the points, to which Rahul Gandhi warmly obliged.
Rahul Gandhi also promised that all eligible tribals would get podu land pattas and all problems of the Dharani portal would be addressed by the Congress government.
Accusing Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao of having lost all volition, and being in total control of Prime Minister Narendra Modi because of the corruption BRS government and Rao’s family members had indulged in, ranging from `1,00,000 crore in Kaleshwaram to the Delhi liquor scam, Gandhi said, "the CM even changed his party’s name from TRS to BRS to announce his affinity for the BJP" and added that it stood for "BJP Rishtedar Party" and termed it as the ‘B’ team of the BJP.
Gandhi also said that when the Opposition parties were considering inviting the BRS for the unity talks held recently in Patna, he had told them that "there is no question of the Congress sitting in the same meeting where a BJP stooge like the BRS was there."
The TPCC put up a great show of unity with all senior leaders — Revanth Reddy, Srinivas Reddy, Uttam Kumar Reddy, Bhatti Vikramarka, V. Hanumantha Rao, Renuka Chowdary, Komatireddy Venkat Reddy and D. Sridhar Babu, among others — in attendance and seen interacting with one other with smiles and friendly gestures.
Gandhi ended the speech on a high note, with people echoing the sentiments aired throughout the meeting by all leaders that the Khammam Garjana could well be the beginning of the end for the BRS government and the foundation for change.