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YSR faces friendly fire from Left

Hyderabad, June 18: The Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy government has been threatened with a mass movement by its Left allies over the “fraud” it is committing on the poor.

A year after a string of suicides by farmers and public disillusionment with the Telugu Desam Party’s policies brought the Congress to power in Andhra Pradesh, its marriage of convenience with the Left is on the rocks.

The CPM said the government’s Rajiv Grihakalpa housing scheme has been a “big fraud” on the urban poor, who are being made to pay through their nose. The CPI alleges that the hyped land distribution of January 26 was a “big hoax”.

Both parties, which won sizeable Assembly and Lok Sabha seats riding piggyback on the Congress during the 2004 polls, also criticised the government over the bungled talks with Maoists and the reduction of free power to farmers.

Defending the threat of statewide agitations in the coming weeks, CPM politburo member and state secretary B.V. Raghavulu said: “The Rajiv Grihakalpa programme offers no subsidy and is not poor-friendly.” He added: “Right now, there is no proposal to join hands with the Congress in the local body polls.”

CPI leader S. Sudhakar Reddy accused the Congress of not fulfilling 90 per cent of its promises. “Besides, its Telengana policy has been misleading.” As for the land distribution programme, “what the government did on January 26 was just regularise the land illegally occupied by big landlords under benami”. He accused the government of letting itself be dictated to by global monetary agencies like the World Bank.

A scornful Congress said the CPI and CPM had supported the Desam till 1998 and reaped a rich harvest of Rajya Sabha and Assembly seats.

“The moment they parted ways with the Telugu Desam in 1999, the CPI was virtually wiped out in the state and the CPM was down to a minuscule presence,” spokesman Kiran Kumar Reddy said. “They have once again made gains by allying with the Congress. Now they are up to their old tricks.”

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