Jagan launches 48-hour fast for farmers

The former Kadapa MP, who turns 38 Tuesday, began the fast along with  his supporters on the banks of Krishna River near Prakasam Barrage.

The son of the late Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy  reached the venue after offering prayers at the Durga temple in this town  of Krishna district in coastal Andhra Pradesh.

The young leader, who quit the Congress party and also resigned from the Kadapa Lok Sabha seat accusing the leadership of dividing his family,  reached the town in the morning by Prashanti Express to a warm welcome  by his supporters.

Hundreds of people reached the fast venue from different parts of  coastal Andhra, Rayalaseema and even Telangana.

Soon after his arrival at the venue, Jagan, as the young leader is  popularly known, garlanded a statue of his father on a massive dais.  Prominent supporters sat on the 100-feet long, 50-feet wide and 10-feet high dais with massive cutouts of the late chief minister and of Jagan in the backdrop.

Those sitting on the dais included nine state legislators, several  former ministers and MPs who joined Jagan camp recently. Former Telugu  Desam Party (TDP) leader and actress Roja and TDP founder N.T. Rama  Rao's widow Lakshmi Parvathi were amongst seated beside  Jagan.

Jagan, who has already announced his plans to float a new party in 45  days, has gone all out to make the fast a massive show of strength. The organisers said the open space in front of the dais can  accommodate 175,000 people.

After the rains early this month caused huge crops loss, Jagan had visited Guntur, Krishna and East Godavari districts to call on  farmers. His tour had also sent ripples in the ruling Congress party  with a section of party leaders, including two legislators, joining his  camp.

Jagan's action, however, has drawn criticism from his uncle and  minister for agriculture Y. S. Vivekananda Reddy, who claimed that the  package announced by the government for farmers last week was the best  in the country.

Jagan began the 48-hour fast at a time when the leader of opposition  and former chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu is also on fast for five  days, demanding a fair deal for farmers.

The TDP chief, who was arrested Monday, was continuing his indefinite  fast at Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) in Hyderabad.

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