OPPOSITION Supports Chandra Babu Naidu’s fast demanding AP’s Spl Status

AICC President Rahul Gandhi, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and other Opposition leaders met Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu who commenced fast in New Delhi’s Andhra Pradesh Bhavan’ premises on Monday seeking special category status for the state and fulfilment of assurances given at the time of the state’s bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. Rahul Gandhi and other opposition leaders supported   his cause. The Chief Minister observed the fast from 8 am and will submit a memorandum to the President of India on February 12. Prime Minister Narendra Modi failed to mention the long-pending demand of the people of AP on the special category and state bifurcation assurances during his address in Guntur on Sunday. This seems to have annoyed the masses and thousands of people thronged the main roads of both Vijayawada and Guntur, along the route from the airport, and staged protests sporting black clothes and carrying empty black pots and waving ‘Modi Go Home’ placards. BJP leaders who were expecting the PM to announce some concessions to the state are said to be disappointed as the PM did not mention the above two demands. Reacting to PM Modi’s scathing attack on him the Chief Minister said BJP leaders should understand the ire of people towards the Central government, which has failed to fulfil the assurances given at the time the state was bifurcated. The Chief Minister said he had appealed to the Telugu people to stage silent protests during the visit of the Prime Minister and dismissed allegations of BJP leaders that the TDP government tried to create hurdles for holding the PM’s rally. The Chief Minister has participated in Dharma Porata Deeksha in 11 districts of AP  before  moving  to its  venue to New Delhi. He observed the fast after paying tributes to Mahatma Gandhi’s statue at Raj Ghat and BR Ambedkar’s statue at AP Bhavan. Leaders of several opposition parties extended their solidarity to the CM’s protest.  In October 2013, Mr Naidu had gone on an indefinite fast at AP Bhavan to demand equal justice for both regions, and had been forcibly shifted to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital on the fifth day after his health was said to be deteriorating. He also observed a fast on his birthday last year in Vijayawada demanding fulfilment of the state bifurcation assurances. Earlier, he had quit the NDA protesting against not granting special status to Andhra Pradesh as the Government repeatedly claimed that more funds have been provided than mandated under a special category state.

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