Naidu continues fast, all-party meet fails to break impasse

Thursday, December 23, 2010

HYDERABAD - Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N. Chandrababu Naidu continued his indefinite fast for the seventh day Thursday as the Andhra Pradesh government’s talks with the opposition failed to break the impasse over the farmers issue.

The condition of Naidu has deteriorated further and doctors at the Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) have again advised his family to persuade him to call off the fast immediately.

Naidu, who is on fast demanding relief package to farmers who lost their crops in the recent unseasonal rains, is refusing to be shifted to the intensive care unit. He has also refused to undergo treatment or take intravenous fluids.

Leaders of the TDP, the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) walked out of an-all party meeting Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy called Thurday, alleging the government was not interested in finding a solution to the problems of farmers.

“Instead of responding to the demands on which our leader is on fast, the chief minister was talking of history and raising unnecessary issues. We have asked him to invite us for talks if he is ready to reconsider our demands,” said senior TDP leader Y. Ramakrishnudu after walking out of the meeting at the state secretariat.

The TDP leaders alleged that Kiran Kumar Reddy through his attitude did not show any concern for the health of Naidu or the problems of farmers.

The other opposition parties, including the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), urged the chief minister to make all efforts to address the serious problems faced by farmers in order to check their suicides.

They also demanded that the chief minister lead an all-party delegation to New Delhi to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to seek a special package for Andhra farmers who are facing one natural calamity after the other.

TRS leader E. Rajender suggested that Kiran Kumar himself visit the hospital and appeal to Naidu to end his fast.

Following the failure of the talks, leaders of the TDP, the CPI and the CPI-M began a separate meeting to chalk out their future course of action.

The activists of the opposition parties staged road blockades across the state, demanding the government come to the rescue of the farmers immediately. They blocked movement of vehicular traffic on highways and in all major cities and towns.

Sporadic incidents of violence were reported from some parts of the state. The protestors pelted stones, damaging window panes of buses belonging to state-owned Road Transport Corporation.

PRP chief and actor K. Chiranjeevi called on Naidu at the hospital and appealed to him to call off his fast in view of his deteriorating health. He urged the government to consider the demands of the opposition leader on humanitarian grounds.

The state government has claimed that it has already announced the best possible package to farmers who suffered losses due to recent unseasonal rains.

Naidu was arrested and shifted to a hospital Monday, four days after he launched his fast to press the government to declare the crop loss a national calamity, compensation of Rs.10,000 per acre for food crops and Rs.15,000 per acre for commercial crops.

Filed under: Politics

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