The Centre on Tuesday announced a relief of Rs 400 crore to provide succour to rain-hit farmers of Andhra Pradesh, a move aimed at countering the political fallout of the fast undertaken by TDP leader N Chandrababu Naidu and former Congress MP Jaganmohan Reddy.
Naidu has been on an indefinite fast that started five days ago protesting against inadequate relief announced by the state to farmers who lost their crops in the recent rains.
In Vijaywada, Jagan launched his own 48-hour hunger strike and attacked the government “for leaving distressed farmers in the lurch”.
The Prime Minister who met a delegation of MPs from Andhra assured them that “expeditious action” would be taken on the reports of the central team.
Apprising him of the losses incurred by farmers, the delegation told the PM that “unprecedented” rains had resulted in extensive damage to cotton crops and tobacco as also paddy.
“The Prime Minister announced an advance of Rs 400 crore to be paid to the state government for immediate relief,” a PMO spokesman said.
At his hunger strike camp on Tuesday, an angry Jagan addressed a huge crowd asking, “How many more farmers should die before you (government) come to their rescue and pay adequate compensation? “
He also warned that the Congress would not be able to even retain deposits in the next elections if it continued to remain indifferent to the farmers’ plight.
The significant aspect of Jagan’s ‘Lakshya Deeksha’, coinciding with his 37th birthday today, was the presence of Congress legislators; more are expected to visit the camp on Wednesday.
The rebel leader, who quit the Congress early this month and announced that he would launch his own outfit said the Congress government in Andhra was in power because of his father late YS Rajasekhara Reddy.
“My father always strove for the welfare of farmers. But the current government that claims to be inspired by YSR has totally ignored the farmers,” he said.