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Chandrababu Naidu calls protests as PM Modi visits Andhra

In a teleconference with ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) workers, Naidu accused the Centre of “betrayal and treachery” over the formation of a new railway zone in Visakhapatnam.

india Updated: Feb 28, 2019 23:26 IST
Gali Nagaraja
Gali Nagaraja
Hindustan Times
Chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government of bias against Andhra Pradesh(AFP)

Chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government of bias against Andhra Pradesh and called for protests over it during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Visakhapatnam on Friday.

In a teleconference with ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) workers, Naidu accused the Centre of “betrayal and treachery” over the formation of a new railway zone in Visakhapatnam. He said a lucrative cargo section under the zone has been allocated to the neighbouring Odisha and insisted that it would lead to a revenue loss to his state.

BJP lawmaker P V N Madhav called Naidu’s call for protests ridiculous and meaningless and questioned how would the allocation lead to revenue losses to Andhra Pradesh. “The revenue in form of freight charges and passenger fares will obviously go to the railways. How will Andhra Pradesh lose revenue with the merger of three railway lines in Odisha?” Madhav asked.

TDP leaders, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the revenue aspect defies logic.

Naidu has asked TDP workers to hold torches during protests, carry out bike rallies wearing black shirts and release black balloons to protest against “the injustice” during Modi’s visit to address an election rally in Visakhapatnam.

Railway minister Piyush Goyal announced the formation of the new railway zone on Wednesday.

The TDP held “Modi-go-back” protests when the Prime Minister addressed an election rally in Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur on February 11 over the denial of the special status for the state.

Naidu has taken a leading role in stitching together an alliance of Opposition parties since he quit BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over the special status denial. The Centre pays 90% of funds required in centrally-sponsored schemes under the status as against 60% in case of other states. The BJP has been trying to make inroads into states like Andhra Pradesh.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Feb 28, 2019 23:25 IST