Visakhapatnam: TDP national president and former Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu on 16 February demanded Chief Minister Y.S Jagan Mohan Reddy take responsibility and lead the ongoing agitation to save the prestigious Visakha Steel Plant from the immediate threat of privatization.

Mr Naidu advised Jagan to stop the sale of the steel plant or resign and go to jail or wherever he would like to go. If the YSRCP continues its games of betrayal against the people's sentiments even now, the people of the state will rise in revolt and they will not allow the ruling party leaders to move on the roads, he said.

The TDP chief also called on the party's Vizag Parliamentary president Palla Srinivasa Rao who is on a fast-unto-death from his hospital bed.

Addressing a press conference later, Mr. Naidu advised the Chief Minister and his party leaders to make sincere efforts like Palla Srinivasa Rao whose hunger strike entered 8th day on Tuesday. He also alleged that not a single minister has visited or inquired about his health till now. "Palla's has lost over 10 kg already while the false protesters are gaining weight," he said, adding the Chief Minister is keeping mum on the steel plant issue like a robber bitten by a scorpion.

Mr. Naidu demanded the CM stop his 'Kodi Kathi' dramas as the steel plant had sentimental value for the people of Andhra Pradesh. "In the united state, the people of all the three regions, including Telangana, waged a united stir and protected the VSP. Over 32 agitators sacrificed their lives and Tadikonda resident Amrutha Rao continued a 47-day long fast at that time. Indira Gandhi had no option but to come down to grant the steel plant at Visakhapatnam," he said.

The TDP chief slammed YSRCP MP Vijay Sai Reddy for "counseling" AP people by saying they should accept the reality of the privatization of the steel plant. "At the same time, the MP was saying he will take up a 20-km padayatra. What is required right now is that the MP should go to Delhi and stop the sale of the steel plant. The people have realized how the YSRCP leaders are enacting false dramas and going to meet the false Swamiji in the port city for his blessings to carry out their nefarious activities. The CM met with the Posco representatives and took photos with them but he did not bother to tell the people about the privatization plans," Mr. Naidu alleged.

Describing the steel plant as the soul of Vizag, Mr. Naidu asserted that the YSRCP leaders were bent on looting the 'soul' itself. "If the CM has any love for the north Andhra region, he should get the Obulapuram mines allotted and save the Visakha Steel plant. That will save the industry from the privatization plan. But Jagan will not do this as it will cause a personal loss to him. It was YSR who gave away Bayyaram mines to his son-in-law and Obulapuram mines to Gali Janardhan Reddy," the TDP chief alleged.

Mr. Naidu asserted that VSP was the only steel plant in the country to be located in a port city which would have great advantages for imports and exports. The steel plant has been supporting over 5 lakh people. It was paying Rs. 41,000 crore taxes of which Rs. 33,000 crore went to the Centre and Rs. 8,000 crore to the state. "The Jagan regime is trying to make sure that there will be no public sector industry in Vizag. They have set their sights on the Rs. 2 lakh crore steel plant lands which plan to use for real estate in the future," he added.

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