Has the farmer’s friend finally arrived?

Guntur, December 31: The indefinite fast of TD president Chandrababu Naidu followed by the party’s farmers’ convention, Rytu Kosam, appear to have helped the TD supremo finally shed his antifarmer tag and come around as the friend of the farmer.

The mood of the farmers who attended the public meeting seemed to have turned quite favourable to Chandrababu Naidu, whose 2004 electoral debacle was largely attributed to the ryot’s wrath. At the same time, they were curious about what was happening in Delhi on the Srikrishna Committee front though they didn’t appear to be much bothered about the prospect of bifurcation of the state. “The Congress succeeded in spreading the message that Naidu is antifarmer. Now, he has erased that bad image. Farmers will really believe in him,” V Hanumantha Rao, a farmer from Ponnur, said.

A large number of farmers who attended the meeting saw no enemy in Naidu. Though a majority of them belonged to the TDP, the Left parties too mobilised farmers to the meeting. At one time even the Left parties had heckled Naidu whether he would use computers to produce paddy. But now, farmers from those parties too see a new friend in him.

Speaking with Express, many farmers at the meeting felt that the TDP had a bright future in Andhra region.

Interestingly, some farmers shot question to this correspondent over the day’s two major developments the Srikrishna Committee report on Telangana and the Brijesh Kumar report on Krishna Water dispute. “Will the Srikrishna Committee recommend a united State?” asked Dandamudi Rosaiah. However, many of them were not against division of the state.

“Only big businessmen are against division of the state. It’ll not impact a marginal farmer like me,” Hanumantha Rao said. Another farmer Brahmaiah said he would not mind whether the state was united or separated. But he hastened to add, “I do not think the state will be divided. Otherwise, why such huge deployment of central forces in Telangana.”

Praveen, a student from Vinukonda, was also not against division of the state, though he has been participating in the Samaikya Andhra JAC agitations. “As all my friends are coming on to the streets I too joined them,” he admitted.

Another elderly farmer from Mangalagiri felt that students were taking an active role in the Samaikya Andhra JAC as they wanted to emerge as future leaders.

Many farmers felt that the TDP would sweep the next elections as the Congress vote was divided by YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. “Jagan’s party will not help him. It will help to damage the prospects of the Congress,” a farmer observed noting that only one particular caste would rally behind Jagan.