Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, locked in a battle of wits with the Centre, further intensified his protest over the Special Category status for the state by going on a day-long fast in Vijayawada Friday.
Naidu, who turned 68 Friday, launched his “Dharma Porata Deeksha” or “struggle for justice” at 7am at the Indira Gandhi Staidum in Vijayawada. His hunger strike camp attracted a massive crowd of TDP workers and supporters all through the day. Ministers, MPs, MLAs, other leaders and several prominent personalities were among those who thronged the camp.
“My fight is for justice for Andhra Pradesh. This is a protest against the unfair treatment the Centre has meted out to us”, Naidu told the gathering.
He also wrote an open letter to the people on the occasion. “I am doing Satygraha against the Centre neglecting our state”, he wrote in the letter.
He went on a 12-hour long fast with an 18-point charter of demands with the Special Category status for the state. The demands include compensating the revenue deficit of the state, central grants for the Polavaram irrigation project and the new capital city of Amarvati.
The fast has come at a time when the TDP has already snapped the ties with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance and also withdrew its two ministers from the Narendra Modi government.
Apart from Naidu in Vijayawada, other TDP leaders and ministers have also sat in on the fast in their respective districts in solidarity. While former Union Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju did it in Vizianagaram, state minister Akhila Priya did so in Kurnool city.
Naidu’s move was being seen as an attempt to outwit the leader of the opposition YSR Congress leader YS Jaganmohan Reddy, who is on a state-wide tour championing the cause of the SCS. Similarly film star turned politician and founder of Jana Sena Party Pawan Kalyan was also trying to appeal to the masses on the same issue.