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Rajagopal decries Naidu's remarks

By Our Special Correspondent

VIJAYAWADA, APRIL 11. The Congress nominee from Vijayawada Lok Sabha seat and the Lanco group of Industries chairman, L. Rajagopal, on Sunday took strong objections to the reported remarks made against him by the TDP president and the Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu, on Saturday.

The TDP president, it is reported in a section of the press, charged Mr. Rajagopal with paying Rs. 2 crores to the AICC president, Sonia Gandhi, for securing the ticket from Vijayawada Lok Sabha seat.

"It is highly objectionable and shameful on the part of the TDP president to make such cheap remarks. The remarks are exposing the TDP's fear of losing at the hustings,'' Mr. Rajagopal said in a statement here.

Refuting Mr. Naidu's reported remarks that he (Mr. Rajagopal) could manage a say in the Congress affairs in the State with his money power, Mr. Rajagopal asserted that he was not holding any post in the party establishment and continued to be an ordinary worker of the party.

"The active role I am playing in the Congress may not be to the liking of Mr. Naidu, but my political career is not dependent on his likes and dislikes,'' he said. Moreover, it was not proper on the part of the TDP president to make such comments based on the charges made by the "disgruntled'' Congress leader, Jaleel Khan, who could not get the party ticket.

Stating that he had developed close contacts with the party rank and file while walking 1,600 km along with the former CLP leader, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, during his prajahita yatra, the Congress contestant said that the party high command took notice of his efforts and gave him the ticket from Vijayawada.

Mr. Rajagopal said he had commenced social service like drilling borewells in dry areas, distributing aides to handicapped and scholarships to students for the past few years. "But, I never felt that doing public service will be treated as a crime by the TDP leaders,'' he said.

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