Raut’s visit to Andhra Bhavan, where Naidu has been fasting since morning over special status demand for his state, came hours after Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal compared Modi to the prime minister of Pakistan.
“Look at how states with opposition parties in power are being treated. The way the PM deals with them, it feels as though he is the PM of Pakistan and not India,” Kejriwal said.
Naidu was also visited by Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, who reiterated his ‘chowkidar’ jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Addressing the crowd, Gandhi raked up the Rafale row and said Modi “looted” from the people of Andhra Pradesh and gave it to industrialist Anil Ambani.
After Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh also attended the dharna and supported the demand for special status to Andhra Pradesh. “We have always stood by the people. Promises are not being fulfilled. I have always supported the demand,” Singh said.
TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu is staging the ‘Dharma Porata Deeksha’ (a day-long protest for justice) at the Andhra Pradesh Bhavan in the national capital from 8 am to 8 pm. He will also submit a memorandum to President Ram Nath Kovind on February 12, an official statement said.
The chief minister is sitting on a hunger strike along with his ministers, party MLAs, MLCs and MPs. Members of state employee associations, social organisations and student organisations will also join the fast, it said.
Naidu has done 11 such fasts in various districts of AP and this one would be the first one to be held outside the state.
The CM also paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat and proceeded to the AP Bhavan from there.
Earlier in 2013, Naidu had staged an indefinite fast at AP Bhavan demanding equal justice to both regions. On the fifth day, he was shifted to Ram Manohar Lohia hospital owing to his deteriorating health. Last year too, he had observed a similar fast in April.
The Telugu Desam Party had walked out the BJP-led NDA last year protesting the “injustice” done to Andhra Pradesh after its bifurcation.
Last year, the chief minister had observed fast Vijayawada on his birthday on April 20 demanding special status for the state. After quitting the NDA in March last year, the TDP had also moved a ‘no-confidence motion’ in the Monsoon session of Parliament in July 2018, which was defeated.
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