Hyderabad, Oct 25: The Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) today ridiculed the agitation by the Opposition parties in the State, demanding Minimum Support Price (MSP) for paddy, eventhough the State Government was trying with the Centre to get MSP for paddy at par with wheat.
Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters 'Gandhi Bhavan' here, party spokespersons P Venkata Rao and N Tulasi Reddy said Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy had taken up the matter with the Centre and held discussions with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Ministers. The State Government in principle was of the opinion that the present MSP was not sufficient for Paddy.
They alleged that parties like the BJP and TDP were trying to politicise the issue to gain political mileage.
Mr Rao said the TDP, after having failed to get sufficient MSP for paddy during its nine-year rule in the State, was now pursuing vote bank politics.
Stating that the issue did not pertain to only Andhra Pradesh, he said the Centre, in consultation with the Planning Commission, would decide MSP for foodgrains to benefit both foodgrain producers and buyers.
Mr Reddy alleged that due to the ''anti-farmer'' policies pursued by the erstwhile TDP regime,foodgrain production had come down to 29 lakh hectares from 36 lakh hectares in the State.
Mr Reddy rubbished the prediction of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) President K Chandrasekhara Rao that the Congress would lose deposit in the Telangana region in the next elections, stating that the Congress base in the Telangana region was strong and the party was improving its vote percentage. Moreover, the vote percentage of the TRS had come down from 20 per cent during its formation in 2001 to 6.1 per cent in 2006, he added.
Mr Reddy said the Congress had improved its position in the Telangana region following anincrease in its poll percentage from 24 per cent in 2004 Assembly elections to 39 per cent in 2006 ZPTC and MPTC elections. The Statewide increase for the party was 7.6 per cent, he added. He predicted that the TRS would disappear after the next elections in the State.