‘Modi, NDA Govt Dividing Country, Building Hatred Campaign’: Naidu
N Chandrababu Naidu on Monday, 11 February, began his day-long hunger strike in New Delhi to demand special status for Andhra Pradesh and fulfilment of commitments made by the Centre under the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014.
“Today we came here all the way to protest against central government. Yesterday, Pthe M visited Andhra Pradesh, Guntur, one day before the dharna. What is the need, I am asking,” the chief minister said while protesting at the Andhra Pradesh Bhavan on Monday.
“If you won’t fulfil our demands, we know how to get them fulfilled. This is about self respect of people of Andhra Pradesh. Whenever 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.”N Chandrababu Naidu, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister
Shiv Sena was also represented at the TDP event by member Sanjay Raut, who reached the venue of Naidu’s day-long strike to lend the party’s support to the protest.
Speaking at the protest, Naidu alleged that the BJP was building a hate campaign among the people of the country. “The present Prime Minister and NDA government, they are dividing the country. They are building a hatred campaign among people. Ultimately, they want political gain, but it can't be,” he said.
He also said he is “ready to give it back to PM if he makes personal attacks against our people.”
Naidu Back to Theatrics & Histrionics: Amit Shah
Reacting to the anti-Modi protest and day-long hunger strike led by Naidu, BJP President Amit Shah noted in an open letter to the people of Andhra Pradesh that the CM was “back to theatrics and histrionics”.
Calling Naidu’s actions a result of fearing defeat in the upcoming elections, Shah said that Naidu had made “multiple U-turns and is carrying on a malicious propaganda against the Centre and BJP leadership to divert people’s attention from his failures.”
Saying that Naidu had gone too far by attacking PM Modi and questioning his concern about Andhra Pradesh, Shah wrote, “It should be noted that the Congress never bothered about the aspirations of the people of Telangana, coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions of the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh state.”
The Country’s PM, Not BJP’s: Kejriwal
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, DMK's T Siva and TMC's Derek O' Brien at also joined the Andhra Pradesh CM and TDP Chief N Chandrababu Naidu's day-long fast in Delhi.
“I want to tell Pradhan Mantriji that he is not the BJP’s PM but the prime minister for the country and the people. The way PM Modi treats governments of opposition parties in states seems like he is not the PM of India but PM of Pakistan,” Kejriwal said at the protest.
Derek O’Brien congratulated Naidu, saying that TDP had been able to scare Modi in 2018 by bringing in a 'No Confidence Motion' in Lok Sabha.
“After that on 9 January 2019, the SP and the BSP came together. After that, what happened on 19 January? On that day senior leaders of 22 political parties came on the same stage,” he added, referring to West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee’s rally in Kolkata. Explaining why he was mentioning these dates, he stated that after these incidents, BJP had found themselves a new ally – the CBI.
Loktantrik Janata Dal chief Sharad Yadav blamed the Modi government for unemployment, which he said were a result of demonetisation, reported PTI.
“The Constitution is being systematically destroyed,” added former Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Gegong Apang, who gave the BJP its first government in the Northeast 16 years ago.
Congress leaders Anand Sharma, Ahmed Patel and Jairam Ramesh were also at the venue to express their support.
Rahul Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, Farooq Abdullah Join Protest
Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, National Conference's Farooq Abdullah and NCP's Majeed Memon were among the political leaders who joined Naidu's protest at the Andhra Pradesh Bhawan on Monday.
Lashing out at the prime minister, Abdullah said, “Modi has stooped so low. He's making personal attacks against Naidu, who is doing great service for the country.” "The Jammu-Srinagar highway is closed for six days. They cannot clear the 30km road, but they want to rule the country," he added.
Adding his voice to the chorus of criticism, Memon alleged that the Central government was meting out step-motherly treatment to the state and the BJP was attacking Naidu because he has taken the lead in uniting rival parties against it.
“We will show the BJP its place in the elections. I assure you on behalf of Sharad Pawar ji,” Memon stated.
SP leader Yadav said he was not well but had come to endorse Naidu's stand.
"Naidu is fighting the battle for the poor, the farmers and all those who are oppressed," he added.
Stating that Naidu was fighting for a just cause, DMK leader Tiruchi Siva said the Modi government would be ousted in three months.
Addressing the crowd, Gandhi questioned PM Modi’s commitment to the people of the state.
Manmohan Singh said that Andhra’s demand for special status has unanimous support from all political parties, and it should be done without any further delay, reported ANI.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, too, extended support to Naidu over his day-long hunger strike in New Delhi.
“Our party chief Mamata Banerjee has expressed her support towards Chandrababu Naidu’s hunger strike. She asked our party leader Derek O'Brien to visit Naidu at the venue of hunger strike and express solidarity. The Opposition stands united in the fight against the Modi government,” a senior Trinamool Congress leader told PTI.
Naidu Visits Raj Ghat Ahead of Protest
Prior to starting what he calls the ‘Dharma Porata Deeksha’ – protest for justice – Naidu paid his tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat and BR Ambedkar.
The Telugu Desam Party president is expected to submit a memorandum to President Ram Nath Kovind on 12 February, an official statement said.
The chief minister was joined by his ministers, party MLAs, MLCs and MPs as well as members of state employee associations, social organisations and student organisations.
Leader of several Opposition parties are expected to extend their solidarity to the Andhra Pradesh chief minister's protest.
The TDP had walked out the BJP-led NDA last year protesting the “injustice” done to Andhra Pradesh after its bifurcation.
Not The First Hunger Strike
Naidu had staged an indefinite fast at the Andhra Pradesh Bhavan in October 2013, demanding that if a separate state is carved out of then unified Andhra Pradesh, both should get equal justice. He was forcibly shifted to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital the fifth day after his health deteriorated.
Last year, the chief minister had observed fast Vijayawada on his birthday on 20 April demanding special status for the state.
Modi-Naidu War of Words
This comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Naidu locked horns and commented on each other.
Narendra Modi, on Sunday, had slammed Naidu as ‘backstabber’ of his uncle NT Rama Rao. He had said, “You are a senior in backstabbing your uncle”.
Naidu responded with “These remarks don.t befit the PM’s chair.”
While addressing his party workers in Vijaywada, Naidu said “What did he do with Advani? Advani saved him when Vajpayee demanded his resignation, he nurtured and mentored him, but he didn’t even acknowledge his presence and exchange namaskaram. That is his culture.”
While saying that he doesn't attack someone personally, he said that he's forced to because Modi attacked him personally after the PM’s remarks of describing Naidu as ‘Lokesh's father’.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI)