New Delhi | Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu launched into a tirade against the BJP-led central government, alleging Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not following ‘raj dharma’ by denying the state special status.
Naidu, who began a day-long fast at the Andhra Bhavan demanding that the Centre fulfil all promises made during AP’s bifurcation in 2014, warned that Modi would be given a befitting answer if he made personal attacks against the people of his state. “(Former PM) Atal Bihari Vajpayee said ‘raj dharma’ was not followed in Gujarat (during the 2002 riots). Now, ‘raj dharma’ is not being followed in the case of Andhra Pradesh. We have been denied what is rightfully ours,” Naidu said.
He alleged the central government did grave injustice to Andhra and it would have “repercussions on national unity”. “On behalf of five crore people, I’m warning this government… I came here to remind you of the promises made in the AP Reorganisation Act,” Naidu said.
“I am warning you. Don’t make personal attacks against me and my people. It’s unwarranted. I am just doing my duty as the head of my state. We are only demanding what we were promised,” he said, adding if somebody “attacks our self respect, we will not tolerate it”. The TDP chief said the party was denied permission to stage a protest in Parliament premises. “So, we came here”.
A number of opposition party leaders, including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, are expected to extend their support to the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief’s fast.
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, party sources said.
Naidu has been trying to unite opposition parties to take on the BJP in the general elections. Over the last three months, he has held a number of meetings with opposition party leaders on forming an anti-BJP front.
The TDP had in March last year pulled out of the NDA government over its refusal to grant special status to Andhra Pradesh.
The party has been accusing the 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.