Visakhapatnam: Union Defence minister Rajnath Singh has criticised the ruling YSRC saying it encouraged the drug and land mafias in Visakhapatnam in the last five years. The Union minister expressed his concern at a gathering of intellectuals in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday. He asserted that such activities “can be curbed” only when the TD-JS-BJP alliance assumed power in the state. The Union government, he said, has clear information about the land and sand mafias in Visakhapatnam and across Andhra Pradesh respectively. 

He criticised the YSRC government for accumulating a staggering debt of `13.5 lakh crore and alleged that corruption was widespread, particularly in matters of sand mining and land acquisition.
He further said that the Congress tried to appease Muslims by creating reservations during its tenure of 2004-2014 despite adverse court orders. 

The minister lamented the “diversion of funds” meant for various communities, including farmers by the YSRC government. He also said there was a lack of developmental initiatives by the state government, which “hindered Visakhapatnam's potential as an industrial


“Despite the allocation of Rs 15,000 crore by the Centre for the Polavaram project, the state government failed to expedite its completion,” he said. Rajnath Singh vowed that if the three-party alliance won power, developmental programmes would get a boost in AP and “we will also maintain law and order.” The Union minister also accused the YSRC of favouring its supporters financially while neglecting others, leading to the proliferation of criminal activities such as the sand, liquor and drug mafias.

M. Bharat, the LS candidate for Visakhapatnam, urged the Centre to acknowledge the sacrifices of AP residents during the establishment of the Visakha Steel Plant. He highlighted the plight of those who were yet to be rehabilitated and sought an end to privatisation of the steel plant. Vishnukumar Raju, who is Assembly candidate for the Visakhapatnam constituency, criticised the lack of progress in the state and alleged a surge in criminal activities. The event was attended by Rajya Sabha member G.V.L. Narsimha Rao, BJP state vice-president V.V.S. Madhav, Telugu Desam's Gandi Babi and Jana Sena's Ushakiran.

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