Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N Chandrababu Naidu refuses to talk about anything but the breakdown in Seemandhra and the cynical politics of Congress that has fuelled it.
Beginning his indefinite fast at 8.30am in Hyderabad, he went to party founder NT Rama Rao’s memorial where he offered homage before flying to Delhi. After paying tribute to Mahatma Gandhi in Raj Ghat, he addressed the media at 2pm after which he sat down on a stage with his party workers in the premises of Andhra Bhavan.
Speaking to dna around 6.45pm, Naidu, who did not commit himself to any position, spoke about how agitated government employees, and not politicians, were leading and fueling the agitation in Seemandhtra. “It is the state government employees who are leading it,” he told dna.
Asked if he was surprised by the intensity and violence of the protests in Seeamandhra, Naidu said he was “surprised by the cynical politics of Congress, which has indulged in match-fixing.”
The TDP chief said the Congress Working Committee announced its decision on Telangana, and Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh declared that Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) would merge with the Congress.
“To which the TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao said he would,” said Naidu, adding that before the Union cabinet took the decision to form Telangana, YSR Congress president YS Jaganmohan Reddy was released on bail from prison.
“The CBI did not object. Then Jagan started his fast for a united Andhra. But Jagan will merge with the Congress after the election. The Congress has done this without realising the harm it was doing to the state,” said Naidu.
The former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh said the only way out now was to hold talks with the people of both sides. “No political parties are involved in the Seeamandhra agitation. It is the state government employees who are leading it,” he said.
“They feel betrayed, humiliated that the central government did not consult any of the representatives from the Andhra side before deciding about their future,” Naidu said.
When told the government was saying that all parties including his TDP and Jagan’s YSR Congress had agreed to the creation of Telangana at the all-party conferences convened by P Chidambaram when he was home minister and by Sushilkumar Shinde when he took over as home minister, the TDP chief said that all that was given to the Centre were “our suggestions”.
“The government did not come back with the details of the proposal. It did not discuss the details with the parties. It has been handling the issue as though it was an issue of concern only of the Congress and the government,” Naidu said.
Asked if he expected support on the issue from the NDA, Naidu said that he wanted all national parties to be involved in the debate. “Andhra Pradesh is a prosperous state. It cannot be ignored at the national level. Are Congress leaders like Digvijay Singh, P Chidambaram, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Veerappa Moily going to decide the Andhra issue?”
He refused to discuss anything else other than the situation in Seemandhra.