Massive turnout at Jagan’s 48-hour fast for farmers

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

VIJAYAWADA - Thousands of people Tuesday thronged the banks of the Krishna river here to participate in the 48-hour fast by former Congress MP Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy to demand that the government come to the rescue of farmers who lost their crops in the recent rains.

In his first show of strength since leaving the Congress last month, Jaganmohan Reddy, popularly known as Jagan, Tuesday launched the fast with over 100,000 farmers and supporters.

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

Ten members of the assembly, including actress Jayasudha, three members of the legislative council, some former ministers as well as some MPs have joined the fast.

The response to the programme titled ‘laksha deeksha’ (fast by one lakh) evoked huge response, with people from different parts of the state descending on this town of Krishna district in coastal Andhra Pradesh.

The crowds were proving uncontrollable for organisers. The young leader had to repeatedly appeal to people not to move towards the dais.

The son of the late Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy reached the venue after offering prayers at the Durga temple.

The young leader, who quit the Congress 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 supporters.

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

Soon after his arrival at the venue, Jagan 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 on the dais included former Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader and actress Roja and TDP founder N.T. Rama Rao’s widow Lakshmi Parvathi.

Addressing the gathering, Roja said Jagan’s fast had sent tremors in Delhi with MPs from the state queuing up outside the residence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to meet him on the problems of farmers.

Actress Jayasudha, who represents the Secunderabad assembly constituency, said she had come here as she became a legislator because of the late Rajasekhara Reddy.

Jagan, who has announced 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 sent ripples in the Congress with a section of party leaders, including two legislators, joining his camp.

Jagan’s action, however, has drawn criticism from his uncle and state Agriculture Minister Y.S. Vivekananda Reddy, who claimed that the package announced by the government for farmers last week was the best in India.

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, arrested Monday, is continuing his indefinite fast at the Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) in Hyderabad.

Filed under: Politics

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