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WED: 10:30

TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu launched his 117-day ‘Vastunna Meekosam’ padayatra amid fanfare here on Tuesday with hopes of rejuvenating the party and giving it a spin of success in the next elections.

A large number of people, including a sizeable chunk of women, thronged to watch his padayatra that passed through the streets of this town. He set off on the 2,340 km padayatra at 7.10 pm after offering prayers at a local temple with his wife N. Bhuvaneswari, son N. Lokesh and brother-in-law and MP Nandamuri Harikrishna and party leaders.

He paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi, B.R.Ambedkar, Jyothirao Phule and N.T. Rama Rao before setting off on the yatra. Mr. Naidu’s son also joined him in the padayatra before he addressed the public at NTR Circle. Buoyed by the thronging crowds at the NTR Circle he said “I am ready for any sacrifices and am not worried about my health or life. If I am not there with you in your hour of need, your support to TDP all these years will be meaningless.”

The Congress Governments at the Centre and in the State have been hit by large-scale corruption and inefficiency and people have been left to undergo all sorts of problems, including unprecedented power cuts, he said. But for the erstwhile Praja Rajyam, the TDP would have regained power in 2009 and there would have been some relief to people, he said.

At the age of 63 years he did not embark on the yatra with regaining power in mind, he said. “I have taken up the exercise against all advice just for the sake of people, to go and learn about their problems, to infuse confidence among them to fight against the current misrule,” Mr. Naidu said. Hindupur, a bastion of the TDP since 1983, appeared as if it was swathed in yellow with party flags and banners adorning the streets, particularly along the padayatra route.