Naidu on fast, accuses Congress of dirty politics

Naidu on fast, accuses Congress of  dirty politics

Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief Chandrababu Naidu on Monday brought his protest over the Telangana imbroglio to Delhi by launching an indefinite fast and accusing the Congress of playing “dirty politics.” However, he refused to specify whether he supported the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. Instead, he wanted people from both sides to be called for talks to find a solution.

After visiting the NTR ghat, the memorial of his mentor N T Rama Rao, Naidu flew from Hyderabad on Monday morning, landing in Delhi around noon. He drove straight to Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial Rajghat, and then met reporters, before sitting down to protest on a makeshift stage inside Andhra Pradesh Bhavan.

As YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy’s fast in Hyderabad entered the third day, eliciting huge response, Naidu choosing Delhi as his protest venue was seen as an attempt to ensure that no comparison was drawn between both protests.

In an apparent counter-move, Reddy sent a delegation of MLAs to Delhi to meet leaders of other parties to seek support for a united Andhra Pradesh.

Talking to reporters, Naidu on Monday came down heavily on the Congress, even invoking party chief Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origin in a veiled manner. He almost betrayed the fear of suffering a heavy loss in the upcoming election by repeatedly referring to the Congress’s “dirty politics” to tie up with the Telangana Rashtra Samithi and winning over Reddy. Naidu also sought to link Reddy getting bail in the disproportionate assets case with the Congress's “political opportunism” on the Telangana issue. “This is match-fixing. It clearly indicates that they are only interested in politics,” he said.

The TDP chief said there “is immobilismo”—an Italian word that means standstill —in Andhra Pradesh. “The government in Delhi understands Italian. It is more appropriate to use this word because the government and the Congress will understand it,” he said, in an apparent reference to Sonia, who was born in Italy.

He also cited former prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi visiting Andhra Pradesh when there were violent protests in 1953 and 1972, respectively. “What has happened to the prime minister now? Why is the Congress not taking action,” he asked. The Congress has accused him of changing his stand on the Telangana issue after supporting bifurcation at an all-party meeting three years ago. Even two party MPs from Telangana—Ponnam Prabhakar and Rajaiah Siricilla—have alleged that he changed his stand like a “chameleon.” 

Repeated questions on Naidu’s stand on the bifurcation were met with: “We are very clear. My statement is very clear. I am for justice. There is total chaos. The Congress is treating the issue as its internal affair. They are interested in politics, not governance or state or people. They are stating everything in terms of politics. Things are becoming worse day by day.”
On another instance, he said he stands for the “Telugu people”.

He chose to ignore a query on the demand raised by the people of Telangana, but later said he “cannot discriminate against two children” and is for the “well-being of all the children.”  He said justice “has to be done for both Telangana and Seemandhra through discussion with people of either areas and resolving the problem amicably. If there is a new government, we will resolve it within six months,” said Naidu.

“The joint action committees of both areas should be called for talks.” he said.

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