"Andhra Pradesh Congress chief Raghuveera Reddy and party's star campaigner and union minister K. Chiranjeevi also addressed the meeting."
Guntur -, May 2 - Congress president Sonia Gandhi Friday assured full protection to people of Seemandhra residing in Hyderabad, saying they are proud owners of the historical and modern city as much as anybody else.

My party is committed to protect physical, social, cultural and financial interests of every single person residing in Hyderabad, she told an election rally in this south coastal Andhra town.

Gandhi said it was enshrined in the Reorganisation Act that the governor will be responsible for the safety and security of the property and the people living in the common capital of Hyderabad.

On her first visit to Seemandhra after the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, the Congress chief said she empathised with the people of Seemandhra and assured all support to develop it as a new and resurgent state.

Without naming Telangana Rashtra Samithi, she said some vested interests have whipped up passions and are using very harsh and nasty words about Seemandhra people living in Hyderabad.

I know many of you from Seemandhra have at least one family member either working or studying in Hyderabad, she said and noted their contribution in the development of Hyderabad.

The Congress chief assured the students that all admission quotas in educational institutions and the common admission process will continue for 10 years.

Youngsters from Seemandhra must not worry. This is my commitment to you. The educational opportunities available to you now will continue for 10 years.

Stating that people of Seemandhra are wonderfully talented and have made great contribution to building modern Andhra Pradesh, Gandhi said she had absolutely no doubt that the new state of Seemadhra will emerge as an economic powerhouse in the country.

I have no doubt that cities like Visakhapatnam, Guntur, Kurnool, Vijayawada, Rajahmundry, Kakinada, Nellore and Tirupati will emerge as serious competitors to Hyderabad, she said.

Stating that bifurcation of the state was not an easy decision, she said it was now time to look forward.

I am aware this decision has caused some of you great pain and I fully empathise with you.

... I understand your sentiments but as you are aware there was a long history to the creation of Telangana and that uncertainty had to be brought to an end, she said.

Gandhi pointed out that except for the CPI-M, all parties had giving in writing their views in favour of bifurcation of the state.

She said this reorganisation was done in the manner which fully protects the interests of Seemandhra.

She claimed that for the first time, the Reorganization Act passed by parliament contained a special package for the new state.

The Congress leader said the government would set up a steel plant in Kadapa, develop industrial corridor from Visakhapatnam to Chennai, establish new educational institutions in engineering, management and medical sciences as well as a central university and a petroleum university.

She promised that new airports would be built in Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Tirupati. A new railway zone will be created in the region while a major port will be developed at Duggirajapatnam in Nellore district.

Gandhi said that under the special category status, Seemandhra would get 90 percent of financial assistance in the form of grants.

Andhra Pradesh Congress chief Raghuveera Reddy and party's star campaigner and union minister K. Chiranjeevi also addressed the meeting.

Elections to 175 assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats in Seemandhra are scheduled May 7.


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