Dressed in black as a mark of protest, Naidu and his party members and ministerial colleagues paid floral tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat ahead of the strike.
Naidu is observing a hunger strike or ‘Dharma Porata Deeksha’ (a day-long protest for justice) against the central government over the issue of special status to Andhra Pradesh.
Delhi: Andhra Pradesh CM and Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu pays tribute at Rajghat. He is observing a daylong hunger strike here today against the central govt over the issue of special status to Andhra Pradesh. pic.twitter.com/jqlvtwYStn
— ANI (@ANI) February 11, 2019
The chief minister is accompanied by his ministers, party MLAs, MLCs, and MPs in the hunger strike. As per an official statement, he will be submitting a memorandum to President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday.
Speaking at his long day protest, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister termed this as a battle of ‘Self-Respect’. He said, ‘If you won’t fulfill our demands, we know how to get them fulfilled. This is about self-respect of people of AP. Whenever there is an attack on our self-respect, we won’t tolerate it. I am warning this govt&particularly the PM to stop attacking an individual’.
PM Modi while addressing a rally in Guntur Andhra Pradesh on Sunday took a jibe at Naidu and addressed him as “father of Lokesh”, referring to his son.
N Chandrababu Naidu: If you wont't fulfill our demands, we know how to get them fulfilled. This is about self respect of people of AP. Whenever there is an attack on our self-respect,we won't tolerate it. I am warning this govt&particularly the PM to stop attacking an individual. pic.twitter.com/OKUF4DQUZf
— ANI (@ANI) February 11, 2019
‘Today we came here all the way to protest against central govt. Yesterday PM visited Andhra Pradesh, Guntur one day before the dharna. What is the need, I am asking’. He added.
Chandrababu Naidu, who had on earlier called an all-party meet to mount pressure on Centre on special status issue, also alleged that Centre discriminated against the state with regard to the central government releasing funds on Tuesday to various states through the National Disaster Relief Fund.
TDP also held several protests within Parliament in Budget Session. TDP Members in Winter Session of Parliament has made several protests outside and within the house demanding special status to the State. However, Centre has clearly ruled out the possibilities of granting Special Status to Andhra Pradesh.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi who slated to Andhra Pradesh in January originally, had to later, postpone his visit to the state amidst protests by TDP members.
At present only 11 states – Assam, Jammu, and Kashmir, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Tripura, Uttarakhand and Mizoram–have been granted financial aid under this category as a majority of these regions have hilly-terrain and have a considerable tribal population.
The demand to grant special Status to Andhra Pradesh surfaced after the bifurcation of the state into Two Parts that carved out Telangana, the youngest state of the nation in 2014. Andhra Pradesh’s capital, Hyderabad, was also shifted to Telangana after bifurcation in 2014.