Congress worker succumbs to burns; bandh in Tirupati today

BMK Munikoti, who attempted self-immolation at a Congress rally in Tirupati on Saturday demanding special status for Andhra Pradesh, succumbed to severe burns at the KMC Hospital in Chennai on Sunday.

Munikoti, who suffered 95 per cent burns, was shifted from Ruya Hospital in Tirupati to Christian Medical College, Vellore, and then to Chennai for better treatment.

He acquired the status of a martyr. The Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) called a bandh in the temple town on Monday following Munikoti’s death. Congress president Sonia Gandhi and APCC chief N Raghuveera Reddy expressed deep anguish over the party activist’s tragic death.

State Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who also expressed shock and extended condolences to Munikoti’s family, appealed to people not to resort to such drastic steps.

"Im confident that the Centre will grant special status to our state. But, it is my sincere request to the people of Andhra Pradesh to not be driven by emotion or resort to any extreme steps,” the CM said in a statement. Backing the demand for a special status, Naidu said Andhra Pradesh has a lot of task to finish, like completing the Polavaram irrigation project, constructing a world-class capital, developing the villages and the Centre must accord the special status to help the state’s efforts towards development.

The chief minister said he has sought an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stress the need for a level-playing field. Meanwhile, YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy is organising a dharna in New Delhi demanding the special status.

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