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Naidu’s fast stunt draws flak as Opp labels it a ‘farce’

Statesman News Service | Hyderabad |

Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Friday observed his 68th birthday by undertaking a 12-hour-long fast.

The move was taken in order to highlight the Centre’s failure to grant special category status and fulfil other promises made in the bifurcation act though the Opposition YSRCP alleged that his fast has cost the state exchequer nearly Rs 8 crore.

Mr Naidu said: “BJP is now concentrating on Karnataka polls. Once the polls get over, I have heard they will concentrate on troubling us. They have tried weakening the state government through backdoors like in Tamil Nadu. They can’t do this in AP, I am warning them.”

Mr Naidu was joined by several ministers in his Cabinet but it was Telugu actor and NTR’s son Balakrishna who stole the thunder as he lambasted Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi and declared ‘war’ on him for failing Andhra Pradesh.

Balakrishna spoke in Telugu but switched to Hyderabadi Hindi as he warned Mr Modi.“This is not your Gujarat that you can exercise your power. This is Andhra.” He warned Modi for not respecting women.

“Come out and listen to the people. Otherwise, if you go and even hide in a bunker the people will find you and hit you,”said Balakrishna, a TDP MLA from Hindupur. He went on to say that BJP which had won two seats from AP during its alliance with TDP will not even win one seat in the coming elections.

Mr Naidu did not support the recent 12-hour-long bandh called by Opposition parties in the state as shutdowns might de-stabilise the development of the state.

He instead chose to observe a day-long fast to highlight the injustice meted out to the state. The ‘Dharma Porata Deeksha’ led by him was observed in all the 175 Assembly constituencies across 13 districts by TDP leaders and cadres.

Opposition YSRCP labelled the chief minister’s fast as “farce”and alleged his political programme had cost the state exchequer Rs 8 crore.

YSRCP MLA RK Roja, a bitter critic said that the fast “…is a meek attempt to regain his lost ground in wake of the tremendous response received by YS Jagan Mohan Reddy in Krishna district during his padayatra as Chandrababu Naidu has never bothered with SCS or any other people’s issue.”