Congress will win comfortably in AP : YSR

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New Delhi, Jun 19 (UNI) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy today expressed the hope that the ruling Congress would be able to secure a comfortable majority in the coming Assembly and Lok Sabha polls.

Talking to newspersons here, Dr Reddy who is on an official visit to the national capital likened the ruling Congress to a 'defending champion' and it did not matter who were all the challengers be it Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi or some political party. In a democratic system, the ruling party has to face opposition from several quarters, he reasoned adding that the Congress aim was to win 230 of the 294 assembly seats and 36 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

Dr Reddy also had lunch on meeting with Congress spokesman M Veerappa Moily at his residence to discuss the political situation in the state.

Dr Reddy, who met Union Steel and Fertiliser Minister Ramvilas Paswan, raised the issue of steppig up of fertiliser requirement for Andhra Pradesh. The state sought 60,000 tonnes of DAP and 50,000 tonnes of complex fertilisers and the minister had responded positively. Mr Paswan, however, advised the state to discourage any attempt to hoard fertilisers.

In his meeting with Defence Minister A K Antony, the CM sought the minister to waive certain restrictions on the building that is coming up on land alloted to Agha Khan Foundation. The clearance from the defence establishment was needed because it was located adjacent to defence land.

The Chief Minister urged Communications Minister A Raja to come up with providing toll free facility from the public sector BSNL which was doling out health-related information to the needy people on telephone number 104. The state government was bearing the cost of telephone call and it would only be proper if the Centre bore the cost as the number was of immense importance to the poor who could not afford consultancy from experienced doctors.

Dr Reddy said he had told the central leaders about the need to provide remunerative price for the paddy cultivation to keep them engaged in the trade. If the farmers were to shift to some other crop for economic reasons, than it would have a very bad effect on the gain production and may even affect food security, he cautioned.

Yesterday, he met Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar.

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