Jagan continues 48-hour fast for farmers

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

VIJAYAWADA - Former Congress parliament member Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy Wednesday continued his 48-hour hunger strike, demanding the Andhra Pradesh government to come to the rescue of farmers who lost their crops in the recent unseasonal rains.

For the second day, the son of late chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy remained seated with his supporters on the huge dais on the bank of Krishna river.

Thousands of farmers and his supporters have joined in the fast - the first major show of strength of Jaganmohan Reddy since he resigned from the Congress last month.

Jagan, as the young leader is popularly known, sent ripples in the ruling party as 23 state legislators and two Congress MPs Tuesday turned out at the fast to extend their support.

Only 10 legislators were seen on the second day and they included two who were not present on the first day. Two legislators of the Praja Rajyam Party and one of the Telugu Desam Party also participated in the fast.

Farmers and Jagan’s supporters were seen moving closer to the dais and walking past to shake hands with him. He responded by holding their hands, blessing them or touching their cheeks.

Jagan’s close aide Ambati Rambabu said the programme would end Thursday morning and appealed to the people to turn out in large numbers.

Buoyed by the massive response to the fast, Jagan Tuesday accused the Congress government of deviating from the pro-farmer policies launched and implemented by his late father. “Any government which ignores the welfare of farmers has to go,” said the young leader.

The Congress leadership is worried over the turnout of nearly two dozen legislators and two MPs at Jagan’s show. Party president Sonia Gandhi took stock of the situation at a meeting with party MPs from the state in New Delhi.

With 156 members in the 294-member assembly, the Congress enjoys a slender majority in the house.

Making things worse for the party, a couple of legislators loyal to Jagan have dared the leadership to take action against them for attending the fast.

Jagan resigned from the Congress and also quit the Kadapa Lok Sabha seat last month, accusing the leadership of dividing his family by luring his uncle Y.S. Vivekananda with a ministerial berth in Andhra Pradesh’s new cabinet led by Chief Minister Nallari Kiran Kumar Reddy.

Filed under: Politics

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