It looks as if time is running out for Telugu Desam Party supremo and chief minister Chandrababu Naidu, if one goes by the series of welfare measures that he is rolling out day in and day out. He had kept the fortnight busy to introduce welfare programmes for the people, cross sections of the people, with an eye on the impending elections. He is trying his best to please every section and win their votes.
On Wednesday, he made his cabinet to clear a new proposal of giving free money to the farmers. The Central government had already announced Rs 6,000 per year per farmers having below 5 acres of land. Taking cue from this, Chandrababu Naidu government had extended the scheme to every farmer, without a cap on the extent of landholding, to pay Rs 10,000 each. In addition to the Central government’s Rs 6,000, Chandrababu Naidu would add Rs 4,000 and pay it to the farmers. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheme is expected to cover about 50 lakh farmers in the state, Chandrababu Naidu had almost reached out to close to 75 lakh farmers including the tenant farmers. The State government would be paying Rs 10,000 cash in two instalments to the farmers from its exchequer who are not covered by the Central government. The TDP chief is also planning to roll out his first instalment of Rs 5,000 to the farmers in the last week of February, while the Central government is yet to fix the date for its scheme.
Chandrababu Naidu had been offering freebees to everyone particularly in the last two months. Starting from the pensioners, he had offered cash benefits to several sections of the people. The women of the self-help groups are the major winners of Chandrababu Naidu’s ‘eye on poll freebees.’ The women were offered Rs 10,000 each per year paid in three instalments. The government had already distributed the cheques for the three instalments of which the first cheque of Rs 2,500 was paid to the women.
Tied-up with the national politics in the team against Narendra Modi, the TDP supremo is not leaving any chance to the Opposition to win the voters. In fact, he is also taking some schemes of the opposition and rolling them out. However, it is to be seen how far these poll-freebies will help Naidu retain his power in the State.