‘PM Modi not following raj dharma’, says Chandrababu, begins fast seeking special status for Andhra
Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu began his 12-hour fast at Andhra Bhavan in Delhi on Monday, shifting the scene of his crusade for a special category status for his state to the national capital.Updated: Feb 11, 2019, 10:25 IST
Andhra Pradesh’s chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Monday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of not doing his duty as he started a day-long fast to demand the special category status for his state in Delhi.
Naidu-led Telugu Desam Party (TDP) had pulled out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in March last year over its unmet demand for special category status for Andhra Pradesh after its bifurcation in 2014. Since then, Naidu has led an effort to bring opposition parties together to forge anti-BJP alliances in different states.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Sunday dismissed Naidu’s Delhi protest during his rally in Guntur, his first visit to Andhra Pradesh after the TDA pulled out of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA, saying it was “worth only a photo session”.
“We are seeking justice. We are a part of the country. I am asking national media to show solidarity to us. It is our duty to remind him when he is not protecting dharma. We are suffering because of the central government. We are here to unite the nation, the BJP is here to divide,” Naidu said as he began his fast.
The chief minister also said the personal attacks by Prime Minister on him were unwarranted.
“You (PM Modi) spend so much time launching personal attacks on me that you forgot your promises. The personal attacks by the PM on me are unwarranted. You can criticise my work but you shouldn’t do personal attacks,” said Naidu.
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“If you won’t fulfil our demands, we know how to get them fulfilled. This is about the self-respect of people of Andhra Pradesh. If there is an attack on our self-respect, we won’t tolerate it. I am warning this government and particularly the PM to stop attacking an individual,” he said.
Naidu also questioned the Prime Minister’s visit to Andhra Pradesh on Sunday, during which he criticised the chief minister’s for wasting public money on political campaigns.
“Today, we came here all the way to protest against the central government. Yesterday, the PM visited Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, one day before the dharna. What is the need, I am asking,” he said.
Naidu paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat before he began his Dharma Porata Deeksha at Andhra Bhavan. He will submit a memorandum to President Ramnath Kovind on February 12, seeking justice for his state.
The fast is expected to turn out to be a grand show of unity of opposition parties with 21 leaders expressing their solidarity for the Naidu’s cause. A source from the Telugu Desam Parliamentary Party (TDPP) said on condition of anonymity Congress president Rahul Gandhi will visit Naidu and express his solidarity for the cause of Andhra Pradesh, besides several other national leaders.
National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal will also meet the Andhra chief minister at AP Bhavan.
The Congress party has already expressed its commitment to realise a special status to Andhra Pradesh if it comes to power in 2019. The stand of the Congress provided some common ground to work with the Naidu’s TDP against the regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Naidu said during a press conference later on Sunday that Prime Minister Modi’s failure to mention the special status during his visit to the state added salt to Andhra Pradesh’s wounds.
It is the second time Naidu is launching a relay fast in Delhi after he went on an indefinite fast in 2013 before the state division seeking equal justice for Telangana and Andhra. The police broke his fast by shifting him to a hospital on the ground of his deteriorating health condition.
He fasted on April 20, his birthday, in 2018 seeking his state’s share from the NDA government.
The Andhra Pradesh government has hired two special trains to ferry crowds from the Uttarandhra and Rayalaseema regions for the Delhi protest.