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Rahul to hold padyatra in AP on Friday; TDP, YSRC lash out

Parliament Monsoon session

Hyderabad: Rahul Gandhi would on friday undertake a ‘padayatra’ in Andhra Pradesh’s drought-hit Anantapur district, setting off from a village where Indira Gandhi addressed a meeting in 1979, to highlight the issues faced by farmers and women self-help groups.

The Congress vice-president, who reached out to farmers during similar visits and foot marches in states like Punjab, Maharashtra, Telangana and more recently Rajasthan, would kick off his ‘padayatra’ from Obuladevara Cheruvu village and enroute interact with farmers, weavers and students.

He would garland the statues of Dr B R Ambedkar and late AP Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, party leaders said.

Ruling TDP in the state and YSR Congress, however, hit out at the Rahul, blaming the Congress for bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and the “gross injustice” to Semandhra.

Rahul will hold meetings with NREGA workers, migrant labourers at different villages in Anantapur, which is among the districts that receive low rainfall in the country.

He is also scheduled to meet the family of farmer Harinath Reddy who allegedly committed suicide.

After the ‘padayatra’ ends, he would receive representations from people and also talk to senior Congress leaders at Puttaparti, the spiritual town of late Satya Sai Baba.

He would visit the ‘Maha Samadhi’ of Satya Sai Baba at Puttaparti before wrapping up his visit, according to the tour schedule released by the Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee.

“He would walk for ten kilometers. In fact, (Rahul’s grandmother) Indira Gandhi had addressed a meeting at the village in 1979. There would be three-four interactions with students, farmers and self-help group women,” APCC president N Raghuveera Reddy told PTI today.

Asked about the “big message” Rahul would convey during the visit, Reddy said it would revolve around rural distress, dilution of NREGA and farmers’ woes and alleged that the ruling TDP in the state made false promise to SHG women.

Rahul would also highlight the need for according special category status to Andhra Pradesh, completion of Polavaram multi-purpose irrigation project and implementation of special package for backward Rayalaseema districts.

Rahul undertook a ‘padayatra’ in Telangana in May this year during which he hit out at the NDA government at the Centre and TRS government in Telangana on farmers’ and land issues.

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