New Delhi: 

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu began a day-long hunger strike in New Delhi this morning to demand special status for the state and urge the centre to fulfil promises made when Telangana was carved out of Andhra Pradesh in 2014. The protest comes just a day after PM Modi held a rally in Andhra Pradesh, roasting Mr Naidu for allegedly wasting public money on political campaigns.

“PM did not follow ‘Raj Dharma‘ (ruler’s duty) in case of Andhra Pradesh as his government denied state special status… why are you not keeping your word? If you don’t get it done, we know how to get it done,” the 68-year-old Chief Minister said.

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP), led by Mr Naidu, had quit the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance or NDA last year over what its chief described as “injustice” done to Andhra Pradesh after its bifurcation. Mr Naidu accused the Narendra Modi government of going back on a long-awaited promise of special state status for Andhra Pradesh which would grant it a greater share of funds.

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Chandrababu Naidu said the hunger strike was organised to ask PM Modi why he had not kept his word on Andhra Pradesh.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, however, had claimed on Sunday that he had gone far beyond offering the special status to Andhra Pradesh. “As Chandrababu Naidu couldn’t develop the state nor give accounts for his expenditure, he is cooking up lies,” he said.

The TDP chief began the ”Dharma Porata Deeksha” (a day-long protest for justice) at the Andhra Pradesh Bhavan around 8:30 am after paying respects to the Mahatma Gandhi memorial at Rajghat. He will also submit a memorandum to President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday, an official statement said.

Andhra Pradesh ministers, TDP lawmakers, parliamentarians, members of state employee associations, social organisations and student organisations will join the fast, the party said. Several opposition parties are expected to extend their support.

Last year, the chief minister had observed a fast in Vijayawada on his birthday on April 20 demanding special status for the state.

After quitting the NDA in March last year, the TDP had also moved a ”no-confidence motion” in the Monsoon session of parliament in July, which was defeated.

Over five years ago, Chandrababu Naidu had launched an indefinite fast at the Andhra Pradesh Bhavan. If a separate state was to be carved out then both should get equal justice, he had demanded. He was forcibly taken to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital on the fifth day after his health deteriorated.

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