Demanding special status for Andhra Pradesh, Chandrababu Naidu starts hunger strike at Delhi

New Delhi: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Monday began a day-long fast in Delhi, demanding that the Centre grant special status to the state and fulfil all promises made during Andhra Pradesh’s bifurcation in 2014. The fast began at the Andhra Bhavan. Naidu alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not following “raj dharma” by denying the state special status to the state.

A number of Opposition party leaders – including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal – are expected to extend their support to the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief’s fast at the Andhra Pradesh Bhavan.

Before beginning the fast, Naidu offered tributes to Matama Gandhi at Raj Ghat and to B R Ambedkar at Andhra Pradesh Bhavan. A TDP delegation led by Naidu will submit a memorandum to President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday. Naidu has been trying to unite the opposition parties to take on the BJP in the general elections. Over the last three months, he has held a number of meetings with the opposition party leaders on forming an anti-BJP front.

In March last year, the TDP had pulled out of the NDA government over its refusal to grant a special status to Andhra Pradesh. The party has been accusing the Narendra Modi government of not releasing enough funds for the Polavaram irrigation project, the Kadapa steel plant and Amravati, the under-construction ultra-modern state capital. On June 2, 2014, Andhra Pradesh was split into two, and Hyderabad became the capital of the new state Telangana.

Fight with PM Modi is not personal: Naidu

While Modi launched a blistering attack on Naidu, the Chief Minister hit back at Modi stating that his fight against the Centre was not personal. He said he was opposing the dominance of Delhi over states and was strictly following the footsteps of TDP founder president N T Rama Rao.

Addressing a public meeting on Sunday after the distribution of house site pattas at the Indira Gandhi Municipal Corporation Stadium here on Sunday, Naidu, for the first time, even referred to the wife of Modi and said that family structure and values were very important in any society.

Modi too has a family, but he never bothered about his own wife, he said and added that he was making this comment out of agony and anguish.m“A man who found fault with triple talak and promised to punish those who indulge in such acts had left his own wife Yashodaben,” he said.

He alleged that Modi came to Guntur to attack him and fled from Guntur without giving information to the people of Andhra Pradesh why the Union government had not accorded special category status to Andhra Pradesh.

Naidu said, “I had a lot of respect for PM and always referred to him as ‘Sir’. But he betrayed the people of Andhra Pradesh, he added. ‘I went to Delhi 29 times to ask the Union government to fulfil the assurances made in the Bifurcation Act but there was no response,” the CM said.

The Chief Minister has also responded to the comment made by Modi that Chandrababu Naidu had backstabbed his father-in-law N T Rama Rao. He said the entire family of NTR, and the party leaders had differed with NTR on certain issues and to save the party they had to do what they had done. But Modi has proved that he has no respect for his political guru L K Advani and a man who was protected him when then prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee wanted to sack him.

“Modi should also check his facts. I have never changed parties,” he said, adding: “I have been wearing same type of clothes all through unlike Modi who wears dresses and shoes worth lakhs of rupees every day.”