YSRCP to undertake ‘padayatra’ against steel plant privatisation

In the face of the protests by the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) against the privatisation of the Vizag Steel Plant, the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) leaders have decided to undertake a ‘padayatra’ for the plant on Saturday.

“At 8:30 a.m. on February 20, we will undertake a padayatra from Mahatma Gandhi’s statue at GVMC, covering all the constituencies (in Visakhapatnam) from south, east, west, north and Gajuwaka to protect the prospects of the steel plant,” said senior YSRCP leader and Rajya Sabha MP V. Vijayasai Reddy.

He said this padayatra will be called ‘steel plant parirakshana porata yatra’, which will cover a distance of 23-25 km.

Reddy said the padayatra will terminate at the steel plant to voice the ruling party’s protest against the Central government’s privatisation plan. The MP said the padyatra will be conducted in such a fashion that it will be heard in Delhi.

“YSRCP is ready to take up any programme required to oppose the steel plant’s privatisation without compromising,” he said, attacking TDP national president N. Chandrababu Naidu.

He claimed that the YSRCP leaders do not enact dramas like Naidu, and said that YSRCP supremo Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy speaks truth as it is.

“Please do not believe his (Naidu’s) dramas. We will do it (hinting at salvaging the steel plant),” claimed Reddy.

Similarly, senior YSRCP leader Muttamsetti Srinivas Rao criticised Naidu and his party leaders for allegedly speaking what they want and making claims that the state government met with POSCO officials.

“I want to tell one thing. So many industrialists come to the state to meet the Chief Minister and to India to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is wicked to say that we have a dark understanding with everyone we meet. There is no such need for Jagan Mohan Reddy or the government,” asserted Rao.

Rao claimed that Naidu has a fancy for foreign investments and overseas industrialists, compared to Indian businessmen.

Meanwhile, the police in Visakhapatnam forcibly ended the indefinite fast of TDP leader Palla Srinivas, protesting the privatisation of the steel plant.

YSRCP leader Srikanth Reddy claimed that Srinivas was shifted to a hospital in the interest of his family’s welfare, which TDP was allegedly politicising.

He questioned Naidu as to why he didn’t encourage his son Nara Lokesh or Gitam University founder M.V.V.S. Murthy’s grandson to go on an indefinite fast to protect the steel plant.

Srikanth Reddy drew an analogy that APSRTC has been merged into the government for its welfare and proper functioning but still some people are allegedly targeting the CM.

Meanwhile, Naidu reached the port city on Tuesday and addressed a large gathering of people protesting the privatisation of the steel plant.

“Visakhapatnam is the heart of new Andhra Pradesh. The steel plant is like a heart to Visakhapatnam. If there is no steel plant, then we have no name,” said Naidu, reminding that 32 people sacrificed their lives decades ago for the plant.

Naidu said the CM will come to Visakhapatnam because he came there, but will visit Saradapeetam, a spiritual centre, to allegedly meet fake ‘babas’ (godmen).

He was accompanied by TDP state president Kinjarapu Atchannaidu and other leaders.

However, Naidu’s plans of meeting Srinivas got cancelled as the police had forcibly ended the latter’s fast.