Andhra fasts: Naidu in ICU; Jagan ends fast

Andhra fasts: Naidu in ICU; Jagan ends fast
Hyderabad Now on the seventh day of his hunger strike, Chandrababu Naidu was forcibly moved into the Intensive Care Unit of a Hyderabad hospital after doctors said his condition had worsened. 

Naidu has been at the Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences since Monday; his wife and son have been staying there.  

Naidu announced an indefinite hunger strike to protest against what he describes as the government's indifference to farmers in Andhra Pradesh. Naidu has demanded that they be given greater compensation than what the government has sanctioned after a whopping monsoon destroyed 50 lakh acres of crops. Thirty farmers have committed suicide this year. But that's according to the government; in reality, the number is much higher.

Naidu's fast is seen by experts as an attempt to woo a voter base that he alienated when he was chief minister. He was accused of being fixated with building software cities and industry, at the expense of agriculture.

That criticism is leveled most loudly and clearly against him now by Jagan Mohan Reddy, the son of Congress leader YSR Reddy, who died last year in a helicopter crash when he was chief minister. Jagan stormed out of the Congress a few weeks ago, the climax of his rebellion against his party ever since it decided that he would not replace YSR as the head of the government.   

Jagan too has been fasting in a show of solidarity with farmers - his hunger strike ended today after 48 hours on the banks of the River Krishna in Vijayawada. His tirade against Naidu continues. "He ridiculed my father's promise of free power to farmers. Such a man is now doing an indefinite fast. (Read: Jagan Mohan ends fast with warning to govt)

Though he has been fasting for the last six days, his BP and sugar levels have not come down," he said, uncharitably.

Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy called a meeting with major opposition parties today to discuss the issue. The PM announced a Rs 400-core package for the state's farmers on Tuesday.
Story First Published: December 23, 2010 19:40 IST

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