Jan 15, 2009

India - Chiranjeevi;“Not populist, just Sankranti gift”

HYDERABAD: Terming it a Sankranti gift to the people, Praja Rajyam president K. Chiranjeevi said on Tuesday that if elected to power, he would offer power to about a crore of rural households upto the mandal-level at a 50 per cent concession on their billing.

At a press conference here, primarily to convey festival greetings to the people, he also announced free power to artisans.

These two schemes were part of a programme chalked out by the party’s Manifesto Committee, which would in the near future come out with the detailed manifesto, he said.

Mr. Chiranjeevi said the 50 per cent concession in billing for rural households would help about six crore people comprising 70 per cent of the population.

As for the second scheme, he said the details of how many people would benefit and the like were being worked out.

They would all be clearly spelt out in the party’s manifesto, he said, not elaborating further.

In response to a question, he said existing subsidy schemes would be continued.

When reminded that initially he had said he was opposed to populist schemes and asked if this meant a ‘U’ turn on that policy, he quipped that it could not be termed populist, declining to explain.

He blamed successive governments for their inability to control inflation.

He regretted that in these days of inflationary trends, with skyrocketing prices of essential commodities and services, people were unable to even visit their native places by train or bus to celebrate Sankranti and other festivals with their near and dear ones.

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