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Ominous Suicide Notes
In keeping with his pre-poll pledges, Andhra Pradesh’s new chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy announced a special package to assist families of debt-ridden farmers who committed suicide since July ’98. This is one of the several key sops, including free power for farmers, promised by Reddy who’s keen to be seen as a pro-farmer CM. However, farmer suicides continue—half-a-dozen new cases have been reported after the new Congress government came to power last week and they surely don’t augur well for the new dispensation. Of the 4,000 farmer suicides in the country last year, 3,000 were in Andhra Pradesh—conditions obviously continue to be grim.