Naidu’s fast enters seventh day, shifted to ICU

Naidu is on fast demanding relief package to farmers who lost their crops in the recent rains.

Last Updated: Dec 24, 2010, 00:04 AM IST

Hyderabad: Fasting TDP chief N Chandrababu
Naidu was on Thursday shifted to the ICU of a hospital as his
condition worsened further even as Chief Minister N Kiran
Kumar Reddy appeared unwilling to accept his demand for
enhanced compensation to rain-hit farmers.

All opposition parties in Andhra Pradesh are making
efforts to persuade Naidu to end his indefinite hunger strike
that entered the seventh day today.

Even Kiran`s own cabinet colleagues are pleading
Naidu`s case but to no avail. As the former chief minister`s
health condition worsened further, he was shifted by doctors
and the police to the ICU of Nizam`s Institute of Medical
Sciences (NIMS) this evening.
At an all-party meeting this afternoon, opposition
parties Praja Rajyam, CPI, CPI(M), BJP, Lok Satta,
Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen and TRS tried to prevail on the
Chief Minister to consider the demand raised by Naidu but
Kiran stuck to his position saying "we have no money".

"The state government is paying Rs 2,000 per hectare
more than what the government of India is giving. We wrote to
the Centre requesting it to enhance the compensation to Rs
8,000 per hectare. We can`t give anything more than what has
already been announced," the CM told the Opposition parties.

The Opposition then suggested that the state pay Rs
8,000 a hectare as compensation to calamity-hit farmers
but Kiran turned this demand down.

"We have no money," he told the Opposition parties,
leading TDP, CPI and CPI(M) to walk out of the meeting in
protest. The Chief Minister, however, agreed to lead an all-
party delegation to the Centre to plead the farmers` case
"only if required".

Kiran came under fire from the Opposition as he
refused to enhance the compensation package for calamity-hit
farmers as demanded by the TDP chief.

"He (Kiran) is speaking as if he is giving money from
his pocket. He should know that it is the people`s money which
should be spent for the cause of people in times of distress.
He is not giving a fund for our party," TDP politburo member
Yanamala Ramakrishnudu said.
"Kiran has turned out to be the most non-practical
Chief Minister," CPI State Secretary K Narayana lashed out.
CPI(M), BJP and TRS leaders hit out at the CM, charging he
"lacked an open mind" to resolve the issue.

Praja Rajyam President K Chiranjeevi wanted the
government to review the relief package and enhance the
compensation to farmers in view of the loss. TRS leader E
Rajender requested the Chief Minister to personally
call on Naidu and make him end the fast.

Kiran`s attitude left his Cabinet colleagues puzzled.
This became evident as three Ministers ? K Jana Reddy,
Mopidevi Venkata Ramana and Vatti Vasantha Kumar ? walked out
of the all-party meet midway. In fact, of the 11 Ministers
invited for the crucial meet, only six turned up.

Meanwhile, workers of TDP, CPI and CPI(M) held road
blockades across the state denouncing the government`s
"adamant" attitude on the farmers` issue.

Activists of Telugu Mahila, TDP`s women`s wing, tried to
barge into the Secretariat this evening but were arrested.

At NIMS, where Naidu was admitted earlier this week,
TDP MLA Linga Reddy and MLC Y V B Rajendra Prasad were taken
into custody along with scores of party workers when they
staged a protest. Some TDP leaders were locked up in a room at
the hospital by the police.

Of the six, ministers like Vatti (Tourism), Mopidevi
(Excise), Dharmana Prasada Rao (Roads and Buildings) and Jana
Reddy (Panchayat Raj) were actually not concerned with the
subject. Ministers Y S Vivekananda Reddy (Agriculture) and N
Raghuveera Reddy (Revenue) were conspicuous by their absence.

Meanwhile, Naidu remained steadfast in his resolve to
continue the fast despite persuasion from all quarters to give
it up.

Doctors at the NIMS said his condition deteriorated
further.

In the evening, Textiles Minister P Shankar Rao called
on Naidu and appealed to him to end the fast. "I will talk to
the Chief Minister and see that Chandrababu`s demands are
considered to make him call off the indefinite hunger strike.
I wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia
Gandhi in this regard."

INLD president Om Prakash Chautala, who visited the
TDP leader in the hospital, lashed out at the Congress
Government for failing to do justice to distressed farmers.

"The Congress does not believe in democracy, it
believes only in capitalism," he said.

Chautala said the Rs 400-crore advance financial aid
announced by the Centre was grossly inadequate.

"As many as 25 farmers committed suicide in Andhra
Pradesh the day the Centre announced the aid," the former
Haryana chief minister pointed out.

Praja Rajyam chief Chiranjeevi also visited Naidu in
the hospital and appealed to him to give up the fast.

He enquired with doctors about the former CM`s health
condition. TRS leader E Rajender too visited the TDP
president.

PTI