Leaders from multiple political parties on Monday extended their support to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu’s protest fast, which he began to demand special status for his state. Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, a member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition at the Centre, also met Naidu at Andhra Bhavan.
Opposition party leaders such as Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi, Farooq Abdullah, and also rebel BJP leader Yashwant Sinha met him. Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav tweeted in support of Naidu and sent his representative to the venue.
Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien also went to Andhra Bhavan, where he claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scared to deal with the matter at hand. He called July 20, 2018, when Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party had introduced a no-confidence motion against the government in Parliament, as an important date.
Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah on Monday said Naidu was trying to desperately grab headlines as his political fortunes were declining, according to PTI. He added that Naidu’s “delusional politics” was going to end and that the people will teach Naidu a lesson for allying with the Congress, which bifurcated the state in a “unilateral, hasty and unscientific manner, ignoring” its interests. He further claimed that Naidu was carrying out a “hate campaign” against the central government.
In March 2018, Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party had quit the ruling National Democratic Alliance because it was upset about the Centre’s refusal to grant Andhra Pradesh special status. The Telugu Desam Party later moved a no-confidence motion, which the government won after a 12-hour debate.
Manmohan Singh, who was the prime minister when Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated in 2014, said the Centre should fulfil the promises made to the state without any further delay, PTI reported. “This demand had support of all parties when it was discussed in Parliament. I stand in solidarity with Naidu,” he said.
Naidu’s protest is the latest among over 10 of such demonstrations undertaken by him on the matter. It is also being seen as the chief minister’s effort to unite Opposition parties against the BJP on a national level before the Lok Sabha elections. Elections are expected to be held in April and May.
Naidu ended the fast around 8.30 pm with water offered by former Prime Minister Deve Gowda.