New Delhi: AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu succeeded in making the entire gamut of the anti-Modi opposition come together in voicing its support to the demand of Special Category Status of AP and for mounting pressure on the Centre to implement the 18 major promises made in the AP Bifurcation Act "at least now" and announce special category status in the ongoing session.
The political who-is-who of the country was present at the ‘Dharma Porata Deeksha’ venue to express their solidarity with Naidu and denounced Prime Minister Narendra Modi who failed in keeping the promises made to AP by him and other BJP leaders. Sporting black dress in protest against the central government’s failure to accord special category status before launching the Deeksha, Naidu visited Rajghat and offered prayers at Mahatma Gandhi memorial. Later he garlanded the statue of Dr BR Ambedkar.
Thousands of people, including ministers, MLAs, MPs and leaders of various people’s organisations sporting black dresses extended their solidarity to the Chief Minister by participating in the Deeksha.
The AP Bhavan premises and its surroundings were seen buzzing with hectic activity as people, including women and children in black robes thronged the area sporting placards demanding special category status to AP.
Addressing the gathering, Chandrababu Naidu said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been resorting to suppressive tactics as the state government demanding for special category status. He expressed hope that the justified protest for special category status will yield good results.
The Chief Minister said that he is ready to furnish details as required by the central government. He said that leaders at the central level should protect the federal structure and safe guard the interests of state governments. If the rulers failed to respect the sentiments of people, they will teach a lesson to the BJP. He said Telugu people are known for their self-respect.
If the central government underestimates them, they will teach a lesson in next elections. Congress bigwigs, former prime ministers, Dr Manmohan Singh and Deve Gowda, Rahul Gandhi, Farooq Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Jairam Ramesh, Ahmad Patel, Mallikarjun Kharge and Anand Kishore of the NCP, Mulayam Singh Yadav of SP, Derek O'Brien of the TMC, Siva (DMK), Sharad Yadav of Janata Dal, Mahamood Pakeer of Muslim League, Sharad Pawar of NCP, M K Parameswaran of RSP and AAP representatives led by its leader, Arvind Kejriwal, Yashwant Sinha, Shatrughan Sinha, film actor Shivaji and representatives of Shiv Sena came and sat with Naidu for some time and pledged support to him in the fight against the Modi government which had lost all credibility.
The crowds cheered each leader whenever Modi was hit at for his dictatorial functioning style. Naidu got up to thank many of them soon after their speeches and also highlighted his association with them. Their commitment to the cause of AP enthused him further and he vowed to work closely with them in the future too.
Naidu also addressed regional, national and international media which repeatedly asked him whether he had not elevated himself to the level of national leader and whether he was going to lead the 'Mahagathbandhan" against Modi. He also sought to make his interaction with the media 'open' by asking journalists to seek questions and answers through the audio system so that the gathering could also witness it.
Dr Manmohan Singh and Jairam Ramesh not only declared their solidarity but also explained why the promised SCS should be given without fail. The entire Congress leadership pledged to secure SCS for AP as soon as Modi was ousted from power.
Murali, president of the State Secretariat Employees Union, Bopparaju Venkateswara, president of JAC Amaravati and its member Anuradha of Vidyuth JAC, Apanji Arunachal Prasad, Kata Bhavana Vera Prasad convenor of AAP, Rao Bal Subhramayam, Navataram Party, K S Ranga Sai, president Rastra Chinna Madhya Taragati Industries, Chandrasekhar Reddy and Ashok Kumar of APNGO also spoke.