Hyderabad: Former Congress MP YS Jaganmohan Reddy on Friday launched a weeklong hunger strike here demanding that the Andhra Pradesh government immediately release funds for the reimbursement of students fees.
After daylong fasts at Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam and New Delhi on farmers issues over the last two months, the young leader launched his first protest in the state capital.
Accompanied by hundreds of his supporters and students, the son of late chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy began the fast at Indira Park.
Legislators and leaders of ruling Congress party supporting Jagan, as he is popularly known, also joined him at the hunger strike camp.
Alleging that the government was diluting the welfare schemes launched by his late father, the former Kadapa MP is demanding the government to release arrears to save the future of students.
Managements of over 1,300 private engineering, MBA and MCA colleges have threatened to close the colleges from Feb 24. The government has agreed to release only Rs 650 crore against the overall arrears of Rs 3,500 crore while the colleges are demanding at least 50 percent of arrears by Feb 24.
Ruling Congress party legislators supporting Jagan also raised the issue in the assembly, embarrassing their own government. As many as 14 legislators of Congress and two from the Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) were seen carrying placards and pictures of YSR in their hands.
Leader of opposition and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N Chandrababu Naidu and his party legislators also staged a sit-in at Gun Park in front of assembly building, demanding the release of funds for fee reimbursement.
"The government is playing wit the future of 25 lakh students by not releasing the arrears despite a direction from the Supreme Court", said Naidu.
Student groups also staged protests in Hyderabad and other parts of the state Friday. Police arrested dozens of protestors when they tried to lay siege to Old MLA Quarters in Hyderabad to urge the legislators to take up their issue in the assembly.