Party hunger strike camp likely to be removed by the police

Amid speculation that their four-day-old hunger strike camp might be forcibly closed before Saturday morning, the 26 legislators of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) continued their fast on Friday over power problems in the State, brushing aside medical advice about impending danger to their health.

The doctors attending on them recommended that they should be given medical aid immediately, but the MLAs refused to heed to the advice. On the other hand, the police maintained that they would strictly go by reports of the doctors in deciding whether to continue the camp or not. It was in this context that the likelihood of the camp being wound up was speculated.

The condition of the three MLAs Satyavathi Rathod, V. Chander Rao and Gali Muddukrishnama Naidu was particularly alarming though eight others had also showed signs of deterioration in their health. Ms. Rathod, who is suffering from fever, was advised to give up the fast as she has also undergone surgery in the recent past. Mr. Rao, who is over 70 years, and Mr. Naidu also showed variations in blood glucose levels.

The camp had a surprise visitor in the evening as N. Lokesh, son of party president N. Chandrababu Naidu, turned up to express his solidarity with the fasting leaders. He criticised the government that it was unmoved by the plight of the leaders.

The MLAs celebrated the 32 anniversary of the inception of the party by cutting a huge cake in the morning. TDP deputy leader in Assembly Motkupalli Narasimhulu danced with the cultural artistes who performed on the occasion.

CPI (M) State secretary B.V. Raghavulu also visited the camp and warned that the government would be held responsible if anything untoward happened to the fasting leaders. He dared the government to hold the second spell of the budget session of Assembly as per schedule and said the agitation against power tariff hike and shortage would be intensified by then.

Being the foundation day, a large number of party supporters thronged the Old MLAs Quarters where the strike went on. In contrast, the celebration at the party headquarters was a low key affair confined to hoisting of flag by ex-Minister E. Peddi Reddy.