Special Correspondent

‘Do not allow divisive forces to split India’

Many leaders express solidarity with the fasting MP

LSP and MIM will be invited to take part in stir, he says

VIJAYAWADA: The indefinite fast launched by Vijayawada MP Lagadapati Rajagopal in favour of unified Andhra Pradesh entered the second day on Wednesday. Leaders and activists of all political parties made a beeline to Swaraj Maidan (PWD grounds) to express their solidarity with the fasting leader.

Mr. Rajagopal, though looking a little unkempt for want of a shave, spoke frequently with a forceful voice to different media channels that telecast his interviews live.

Former Deputy Chief Minister Koneru Ranga Rao and Vijayawada Central MLA Malladi Vishnu sat on the platform along with Mr. Rajagopal for a large part of the morning. Several elected representatives and leaders of the Congress went on a relay hunger strike extending their support to the MP.

Former Zilla Parishad Chairman Pinnamaneni Koteswara Rao, former Ministers Manganti Venkateswara Rao (Babu), Devineni Rajasekhar (Nehru), Pinnamaneni Venkateswara Rao, former MP Chennupati Vidya, former MLA Ambika Krishna, several ZPTC members, MPTC members, mandal praja parishad presidents and sarpanches visited the camp.

As the day progressed, the crowds at the hunger strike camp kept increasing. The equipment required for showing Mr. Rajagopal to large crowds, like LED hoardings mounted on vehicles, were kept ready at the venue of the camp. While the leaders were allowed to get on to the dais on which the fasting leader sat reclining on bolsters, the party activists were allowed to go close to him through a gap between the highest platforms and several lower platforms on which others participating in relay hunger strikes were seated.

“It’s a shame”

Attacking those demanding the formation of separate State of Telangana, Mr. Rajagopal said the “divisive forces should (be made to) quit India,” and not be allowed to “split India.” He said the likes of him who were within the political realm watched with “shame” as some separatist elements tried to “disrobe” Telugu Thalli.

“Just like Dusyasan tried to disrobe Draupadi and outrage her modesty in full court, the Telangana separatists are trying to disrobe Telugu Thalli,” he said.

Mr. Rajagopal said leaders of the Lok Satta and the MIM would be invited to participate in the movement to express their open support for a unified State. He claimed that most of the people in the State were in favour of a unified State, but a handful of separatists were holding them to ransom.