Amalapuram First Time MP Chintha Anuradha Says Social Justice For Dalits is a “Million Dollar Question”
TC Series: First time Women MPs in Parliament
“Public welfare is more important than personal life” is the slogan that first time MP Chintha Anuradha swears by. A housewife, a feminist her rise has been swift, if not essentially dramatic. She joined the YSR Congress Party under YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and was soon nominated as the party candidate for the Lok Sabha elections from Amalapuram, is married to an IRS official Talla Satyanarayan and is one of the 82% crorepatis in this Lok Sabha, with declared assets over Rs 8 crores.
She is 46, has three children, and even while campaigining ran into a controversy with rumours claiming that she had dropped out of the parliament race. She denied it, blaming the Telugu Desam and the Jana Sena for this. Amalapuram is a Reserved constituency, held by the Congress and more recently the Telugu Desam that won the seat five times. Anuradha, thus, has created a record of sorts by wresting the seat from the TDP by a margin of just about 40,000 votes.
In an interview to The Citizen Chintha Anuradha over the telephone she says that she was inspired by her father. “I would see him asking to the public, he had the urge to go to the public and do service, so after he suddenly passed away my mother came up saying that as his last wish was to serve the common people and it was her full support for me to stand up for everybody and fight.” And of course by Jagan Mohan Reddy who figures in her almost every answer to our questions.
Your slogan says “public welfare is more important than personal life”. So according to you what defines ‘public welfare’?
There have been several regional parties and all the other parties coming and striving to do public welfare. Our party’s motto has been public welfare. Jaganmohan Reddy considers the common man and he has been very particular in providing them by going in their footsteps and knowing their problems. By this he had tried to dot out some solutions to their problems which we define as Navratnas so as to reach these people.
Tell me about your political journey.
I’m very new to this field, contested for the first time, only due to my father, he was working for Krishna Murthy Reddy, was offered a seat in 2014 but due to some reasons he couldn’t contest. My father passed away in 2016. Jagan was very upset as he liked my father because he was a genuine person and worked for the party. So he offered me the seat and I find myself lucky and being a woman from SC constituency. I have been the coordinator of the party as in the party selects a person giving her/him the term ‘coordinator’ where you need to work for the party, reach the people, whatever is planned should reach the people through us, tell them our party’s agenda and later the same coordinator is announced as the candidate of the party.
So how are you going to work for women, you describe yourself as a feminist?
Reddy has been following his father’s step by involving women in his cabinet and agenda. He has given the home secretary post to a woman, this way he has been carrying out what his father had started. I have been trying to understand the problems of the women in different sectors in villages and will keep working for them.
You represent Amalapuram which is a drought-hit region, so how will you work for the farmers’ distress especially women farmers?
There are no actual women farmers in this region frankly speaking. Reddy had proposed that Rs.12500 will be given to all the farmers in the starting of the season to buy seeds and all. The area is not like drought ridden every time, it is a common condition in the country and it happens sometime in this region, we have been trying to give support to the farmers in whichever way possible.
Who are the people who have inspired you during your political career?
First my father, I would see him asking to the public, he had the urge to go to the public and do service. So after he suddenly passed away my mother came up saying that as his last wish was to serve the common people, so with her full support I joined politics to stand up for everybody and Reddy’s offer had helped me out in fulfilling my father’s wish.
My father had contested in 2009 from Amalapuram, Praja Rajyam party and I took part in his campaigns and helped him but I never thought I would be a part of this and it was a surprise for me actually.
How will you ensure social justice to Amalapuram which is a constituency of Scheduled Castes?
This has been a million-dollar question always. The area itself is very backward, whatever number of educated people have come from this place have always migrated to other places and settled over there. There has not been much discussion on how to change the living conditions of the people of this region and the living conditions have not changed past 70 years. Even the basic facilities of water, housing, electricity are not properly available here.
The major problem is water shortage that wherever I have gone to campaign people would come up with this problem. So we have been thinking about it and have decided to talk to all the seven MLAs from this region regarding this and we are trying to set up a water plant, put up proper tanks and other facilities for water supply and it is not only the SC people in particular but all the people of this region. When it comes to the social and economic conditions of these people there is no change in their livelihood, they are provided with lot many reservations but they are not at all using them properly.
So we need to inspire these people and educate them towards this direction. The most important thing for SC and ST is that we need to provide them proper education, make them aware them about reservations and go ahead with their lives.
Your party is demanding Special status for Andhra Pradesh, why?
During the partition of the state into Andhra Pradesh and Telangana it was agreed on one condition that Andhra Pradesh will be given Special status by which we can develop this state. But later nothing was put into action. Actually the main motto of getting Special status is that we will get benefits like GST, tax exemption because being a small state and consisting small constituencies we need to grow up, we need to develop hospitals, industries, tourism….. Special status will obviously will give us this benefit….on this issue our leader is very particular and that we have to be on one word… all the MPs from this party will ask for Special status…. It remains one of the main agendas of the party.