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Andhra CM sits on fast in Delhi for special status

Demanding justice for Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Monday began a 12-hour-long fast here with an attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi dubbing him “totally imbalanced”.

A day after Modi addressed a rally in Andhra Pradesh and made a bitter attack on Naidu, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) President sat on the fast in the national capital demanding the Centre to accord Special Category Status (SCS) and fulfil other commitments made in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014.

Clad in a black shirt to protest the raw deal meted out to the state, Naidu began the ‘Dharma Porata Deeksha’ at the Andhra Pradesh Bhavan here.

“Modi came to Guntur yesterday. He spent so much of time and so much energy to attack and criticise me but not to solve any problem. This is where you are totally imbalanced,” he said.

Naidu said his protest was against the injustice done to the state, to remind the Centre of its promises and to demonstrate the strength of Andhra Pradesh.

Warning the Prime Minister to stop attacks, Naidu said he should act immediately to fulfil the commitments as only “two days were left”. He was apparently referring to ongoing Parliament session, which could be the last session before the Lok Sabha elections.

“If you don’t fulfil the promises you have made, we know how to get it done. This is a matter of self-respect of Andhra. We know how to earn money but whenever somebody hits our self-respect we don’t tolerate. This has been proven in the past.”

He also warned that if the government failed to fulfil the promises, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would face a permanent boycott in Andhra Pradesh.

Naidu recalled that when then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced the SCS for five years, then BJP leaders in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitely and Venkaiah Naidu had insisted for a period of 10 years.

He said Modi at every election rally promised to accord the SCS and claimed that based on this promise TDP had an alliance with the BJP.

The Chief Minister said the Centre had failed to implement the provisions of Bifurcation Act, including funds to bridge the revenue deficit, railway zone in Visakhapatnam, steel plant in Kadapa and petrochemical corridor.

He said the Centre provided only Rs 1,500 crore for development of state capital Amaravati while it was estimated that Rs 5 lakh crore were required over 20 years to build a capital at par with Hyderabad.

Earlier, Naidu along with other TDP leaders paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat and garlanded the statue of B.R. Ambedkar before launching the protest.

Naidu’s cabinet colleagues, MPs, state legislators and leaders of student and employees groups and mass organisations were sitting with him on the fast.

A large number of protesters have also joined Naidu. They reached the national capital by two special trains hired by the state government.

Leaders of several non-BJP parties were expected to meet Naidu and express their solidarity.

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