VIJAYAWADA: In his first show of strength since leaving the Congress party last month, Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy Tuesday launched a 48-hour fast along with over 100,000 farmers, demanding relief for the crops lost in recent rains.
The former Kadapa MP, who turns 38 Tuesday, began the fast along with his supporters on the banks of Krishna River near Prakasam Barrage.
The son of the late Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy reached the venue after offering prayers at the Durga temple in this town of Krishna district in coastal Andhra Pradesh.
The young leader, who quit the Congress party and also resigned from the Kadapa Lok Sabha seat accusing the leadership of dividing his family, reached the town in the morning by Prashanti Express to a warm welcome by his supporters.
Hundreds of people reached the fast venue from different parts of coastal Andhra, Rayalaseema and even Telangana.
Soon after his arrival at the venue, Jagan, as the young leader is popularly known, garlanded a statue of his father on a massive dais. Prominent supporters sat on the 100-feet long, 50-feet wide and 10-feet high dais with massive cutouts of the late chief minister and of Jagan in the backdrop.
Those sitting on the dais included nine state legislators, several former ministers and MPs who joined Jagan camp recently. Former Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader and actress Roja and TDP founder N.T. Rama Rao’s widow Lakshmi Parvathi were amongst seated beside Jagan.
Jagan, who has already announced his plans to float a new party in 45 days, has gone all out to make the fast a massive show of strength. The organisers said the open space in front of the dais can accommodate 175,000 people.
After the rains early this month caused huge crops loss, Jagan had visited Guntur, Krishna and East Godavari districts to call on farmers. His tour had also sent ripples in the ruling Congress party with a section of party leaders, including two legislators, joining his camp.
Jagan’s action, however, has drawn criticism from his uncle and minister for agriculture Y. S. Vivekananda Reddy, who claimed that the package announced by the government for farmers last week was the best in the country.
Jagan began the 48-hour fast at a time when the leader of opposition and former chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu is also on fast for five days, demanding a fair deal for farmers.
The TDP chief, who was arrested Monday, was continuing his indefinite fast at Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) in Hyderabad.(IANS)