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Slap hubby, win Rs 1000
- Minister starts scheme for harassed wives

Hyderabad, Sept. 25: Slap your alcoholic or wife-beating husband in public and get a cash reward of Rs 1,000 per whack up to a maximum of Rs 10,000.

That’s the “incentive scheme” an Andhra Pradesh minister is offering harassed wives in his constituency, Kurnool, provided they turn up with eyewitnesses to their act.

Minor irrigation minister T.G. Venkatesh, who is an industrialist to boot, claims to have “redeemed” the slaps of 210 women over the past six months, paying them out of his own pocket.

He wants the Andhra Pradesh government to adopt and implement the scheme across the state, though his bureaucrats have told him this cannot be done.

“We can name it ‘Pati, Patni and Rs 1,000 Scheme’,” the Congress minister joked today. Then, remembering his party’s ways, he added: “But we don’t want to prefix ‘Rajiv Gandhi’ to it.”

Venkatesh argues that the scheme would not only reduce drunkenness and domestic violence but also give the habitually abused women a sense of dignity.

The minister, who owns hotels and factories that manufacture alkalis and newsprint, has introduced the scheme among his female employees and the “daring spouses” of his male employees as part of his “corporate social responsibility”.

Apart from his 1,200 employees, the scheme is open to his ministry’s 110-strong staff and the 8 lakh people of his constituency, but the fear of social stigma is expected to keep the number of reward-seekers within affordable limits for Venkatesh.

Political parties say the scheme will help the minister earn goodwill in his constituency and elsewhere.

“Beat your drunken husband blue and black if he touches you. I will pay you a Rs 1,000 reward per slap. The more you beat him the better, because you can win up to Rs 10,000,” Venkatesh announced at a Mahila Sadassu, a government programme for women’s welfare, in Kurnool today.

“Once you do this, your husband will come home early instead of visiting the toddy shop and will also respect you and spend time with the family,” he added.

The minister advised women to carry out the act in front of as many people as possible so that their husbands would be shamed that much more.

Venkatesh, who is campaigning for a “Royal Rayalaseema” state, is also offering his factory, hotel and ministry employees Rs 1,000 to give up smoking. He plans to extend the offer to everyone in his constituency.

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