While Prime Minister Narendra Modi faced black flags from angry demonstrators on reaching Guwahati on Saturday, several protests now await him in Andhra Pradesh, where he is scheduled to address a rally on Sunday, February 10. The state is going to hold state Assembly elections along with 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
This is PM Modi’s first visit to the state after the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) pulled out of the NDA following a fallout over the Special Category Status last year.
A day ahead of PM Modi's visit, protests were held at various places in the state on Saturday with demonstrators raising “Modi go back” slogans. The protest demonstrations were staged in 13 districts by leaders and workers of the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the Congress, Left parties, student groups and mass organisations fighting for the special category status for Andhra Pradesh.
Carrying black flags, they took out rallies and staged sit-ins at different places. Some could also be seen shirtless. Leaders of the Left parties held protests by smashing empty pots in Vijayawada. They also threatened to disrupt Modi's rally in Guntur.
Several huge billboards showing PM Modi hanging his head and the words “Modi No Entry” and “Modi Never Again” printed large in red block letters in the background have dramatically appeared in several places.
Another sharper protest sign shows the PM Modi running for life with an angry mob chasing him down. “The crowd has been painted in the shape of Andhra Pradesh, indicating the state’s anger at the Centre’s indifference towards fulfilling bifurcation promises,” NewsMinute reported, maintaining that “One such hoarding has been erected even at the Gannavaram Airport where the PM will be arriving.”
The report added: “Even though no political party has claimed responsibility for the act, the images have appeared on billboards that were previously put up by the Telugu Desam Party, which means the party could have booked these billboard spaces.”
“The protest seems to be very genuine as each and every Andhra citizen's blood is boiling because of the injustice. This reflects that dissent against Modi, they felt it and they erected it,” the report quoted TDP spokesperson Dinakar Lanka as saying, who claimed that the allegations of the TDP sponsoring the act are false and baseless.
“People are wondering why Prime Minister Modi is visiting the state, particularly after deceiving it and being unfaithful to it all these years,” Energy Minister and TDP state president K Kala Venkata Rao told The Hindu. “Modi has treated Andhra Pradesh worse than the rival countries, but is making tall claims of extending maximum assistance to it,” Rao alleged.
Addressing a meeting in the Nellore district today, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said PM Modi had no right to visit the state as he betrayed Andhra Pradesh by not fulfilling the promise to accord special status and other commitments made in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2014.
He called upon the people to register their protests against PM Modi's visit. Claiming that people boycotted BJP President Amit Shah's visit to the Srikakulam district last week, Naidu said a similar situation awaited PM Modi in Guntur.
Communist Party of India (CPI) state Secretary K Ramakrishna said PM Modi had no moral right to visit the state as he did not honour the commitments made in Parliament.
CPI-M leader P Madhu said party workers would hold protests with empty pots in Guntur to foil PM Modi's rally. He recalled how PM Modi had come to the stone laying ceremony of Amaravati, the new state capital, carrying a pot of soil and water and promised all help to the state. "He has gone back on every promise he made," said Madhu.
State Congress chief Raghuveera Reddy said his party would organise protests with black flags across the state on Sunday. He appealed to all political parties to join the demonstrations.
(With agency inputs)