High drama outside Chandrababu Naidu’s fast venue in Delhi


CHANDRABABU_naiduNew Delhi: There is high drama outside the Andhra Bhavan in New Delhi where Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief Chandrababu Naidu has been on a hunger strike for five days, protesting against the Centre’s decision for the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.

The police, saying they want to take Mr Naidu to a hospital as his condition has deteriorated, has moved in but are being prevented by Mr Naidu’s supporters.

The protesters, hundreds in numbers, have blocked the way for the police and the ambulance and are waving flags and shouting slogans.

The Andhra Bhavan is the headquarters of the Andhra Pradesh state government in Delhi. The state government had complained that the hunger strike is unlawful and cannot be held there; it had asked the Delhi Police to evict Mr Naidu and his supporters.

The Congress is in power in Andhra Pradesh; chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy is against those who have censured the centre for deciding to carve out Telangana as its own state.

Mr Naidu has been flayed by political rivals for holding his fast in Delhi, rather than at home, and waffling on the issue of whether he supports the plan for statehood for Telangana, a movement that has sprawled across decades.

His supporters say that by bringing his protest to the capital, Mr Naidu ensures that the central government is forced to acknowledge the wide dissent over its decision, one that the politician has described as “immoral” and aimed at winning votes in Telangana in the national election due by May.

As he launched his fast this week, Mr Naidu, who has served as chief minister, refused to comment on whether he backs the plan to create a Telangana state, stating only  that he is opposed to “favouring one child over the other.” His supporters say that he wants to ensure that resources like power, water and revenue are distributed fairly between the old and new states.

The roadmap for the bifurcation, approved by the cabinet last week, has fomented aggressive protests in the regions of Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema which are referred to jointly as “Seemandhra”; their 13 districts will form Andhra Pradesh


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