Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief, N. Chandrababu Naidu is holding a day long fast at Andhra Pradesh Bhawan in the National Capital, Delhi, on February 11, to demand special status to Andhra Pradesh and all the other bifurcation promises to be fulfilled, made by the BJP government during Andhra Pradesh bifurcation under AP Reorganisation Act, 2014.
Naidu began the hunger strike by paying tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat and Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar at Andhra Pradesh Bhawan. Chandrababu Naidu was joined by his Cabinet colleagues, Members of Parliament (MPs), Members of Legislative Council (MLCs), student leaders, etc. Several Opposition party leaders also expressed solidarity with Naidu by visiting the one day fasting protest, Dharma Porata Deeksha. Naidu called Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the centre a failure in giving special status to Andhra, to release funds for the state. “They have failed at every front”, said TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu. Cornering PM Narendra Modi, Naidu said, “You haven’t fulfilled your promises. If you don’t , even now, we know how to get it done. Its about our self respect.”
Leaders like Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, former Prime Minister (PM) Manmohan Singh, Delhi chief Minister and Aam Admi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal, National Conference’s Farookh Abdullah, Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) Majeed Memon, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s (DMK) T Siva, Trinamool Congress’ (TMC) Derek O’ Brien visited the strike venue. “What kind of a prime minister is this, who can’t fulfil a promise he made to the people of Andhra Pradesh. Is Andhra Pradesh not a part of this country that he is not fulfilling the commitment he made to the state? Mr. Modi has got no credibility left. I assure you, in coming days the Opposition will show BJP its true place”, said Rahul Gandhi at Naidu’s day-long hunger strike, quoted TV reports.
Former PM Manmohan Singh also arrived at TDP chief’s day-long hunger strike, where he stood in solidarity with Naidu in his demands. Singh recalled that the demand of special status that Naidu is demanding to be granted to AP had support of all parties when he was the PM. “The demand of special status to Andhra Pradesh should be fulfilled without any further loss of time.”, demanded Singh, quoted TV reports.
The chief minister of Delhi, who had come to extend his support to Naidu in his demand for granting special status to Andhra Pradesh by the BJP-led central government, also took a sling shot at BJP government. “We want to tell the prime minister that he is not the PM of BJP, he is the PM of the people of this country. The way he treats the states with Opposition parties at helm. it seems he is not the PM of Hindustan but of Pakistan,”, said Kejriwal while joining hands in Naidu’s protest. Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath and Congress leader Digvijay Singh also lent their support to Chandrababu Naidu by visiting the strike venue.
Surprisingly, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut also arrived at Andhra Pradesh Bhawan, which is a highlighting point of the one day strike, because BJP and Shiv Sena, both are a part of NDA government, against whom the strike has been held. Both the parties are still not able to agree on whether they are contesting for the elections together or solo. However, several other leaders like West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee are also expected to meet Naidu and extend support.
Chandrababu Naidu had earlier staged similar strike against the Modi-led government over gaining special category status. In October 2013, the TDP chief had observed an indefinite fast at the Andhra Pradesh Bhawan, demanding if a separate state is carved out of then unified Andhra Pradesh, both should get equal justice.
Last year, the Chief Minister had observed fast in Vijayawada on his birthday on April 20 demanding special status for the state. After snapping ties with the NDA in March last year, the TDP had also moved a ‘no-confidence motion’ in the Monsoon session of Parliament in July 2018. The move, however, was unsuccessful and the whole of opposition parties were found on backfoot.
(With inputs from news agency)