Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu began a day-long hunger strike demanding special status for his state which will entitle to increased funding from the federal government of India.
Telugu Desam Party (TDP) President Naidu quit the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance in March last year protesting the "injustice" done to Andhra Pradesh after its bifurcation and carving out of a separate state of Telangana five years ago, our New Delhi correspondent reports.
The TDP was the NDA constituent for four years. Since leaving the NDA, Naidu has been making efforts to put together a united opposition front against the BJP in coming parliamentary elections.
Naidu said former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had said that ‘raj dharma’ was not followed in Gujarat (during the 2002 communal riots when Narendra Modi was Chief Minister of Gujarat state). “Now raj dharma is not being followed in the case of Andhra Pradesh. We have been denied what is rightfully ours.”
The hunger strike by Naidu came ahead of assembly elections in his state which are expected to be held along with parliamentary polls due in April-May.
It also came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a rally in Andhra Pradesh where he slammed Naidu for allegedly wasting public money on political campaigns.
Naidu had staged an indefinite fast here in October 2013, demanding that if a separate state is carved out of then undivided Andhra Pradesh, both should get equal justice. He was forcibly shifted to hospital on the fifth day of his fast after his health deteriorated.
Last year, the chief minister had gone on a day’s fast Vijayawada on his birthday on April 20 demanding special status for the state.