AP CM accuses TDP chief of ''losing mental balance''

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Hyderabad, Jul 28 (UNI) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy today took strong exception to Telugu Desam Party (TDP) President N Chandrababu Naidu's charge that rice being supplied to those below the poverty line by the Congress Government was ''unfit for consumption even by animals''.

Dismissing the Opposition leader's charge as ''baseless'', the Chief Minister contended that this only exposed the ''political bankruptcy and frustration'' of the TDP chief who had ''lost his mental balance'' after losing power.

People would not believe Mr Naidu's promise of providing rice free of cost to the poor if his party was voted to power as he himself, in his book 'Manasuloni Matta' (Plain Speaker), had spoken against subsidies, Dr Reddy said, speaking at the launch of subsidised palmoil for the poor by Union Agriculture and Civil Supplies Minister Sharad Pawar.

It was Mr Naidu who had scrapped the Rs two-a-kg rice scheme introduced by his father-in-law and former Chief Minister N T Rama Rao after ''ousting'' him from power and increased the price of subsidised rice to Rs 5.25 per kg, he recalled.

The Congress Government was supplying ''quality rice'' under the Rs two-a-kg rice scheme to 1.88 lakh white ration card holders with a subsidy component of Rs 3,000 crore, he said, adding that another 12 lakh families would be provided ration cards following the Government's decision to increase the income ceiling from Rs 24,000 per annum to Rs 60,000 in rural areas and Rs 70,000 in urban areas.

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