Visakhapatnam: Political parties are yet to unite and intensify the agitation against the Central government's move to privatize Visakhapatnam Steel Plant. Though several leaders have appealed for unity and called for a non-political joint action committee to spearhead the agitation, in the past few days three separate meetings were held in three different places of Visakhapatnam city.

District Congress committee organized a round table meeting which was attended by Visakhapatnam North MLA Ganta Srinivasa Rao, the only representative from TDP. Representatives of trade unions were present at the meeting. Another meeting was organized at steel plant's BC Gate which was attended by minister Muttamsetti Srinivasa Rao, MP M.V.V Satyanarayana, Anakapalle MP Dr. K. Satyavathi, Anakapalle MLA Gudivada Amarnath, and Gajuwaka MLA Tippala Nagireddy. Trade union leaders were also present.

Telugu Desam Party, which claimed to be the first political party to react against the privatization decision, organized a bike rally from the steel plant to the Gandhi statue at RTC Complex. The rally was led by Vizag East MLA Velagapudi Ramakrishnababu and former Gajuwaka MLA Palla Srinivasa Rao. No trade union leadere were present at the rally which culminated in a meeting at the Gandhi statue.

Addressing a gathering at the meeting, Muttamsetti Srinivasa Rao (Avanti) said the steel plant was a national treasure and the pride of the Andhra people. He said his government would oppose the privatization tooth and nail.

Lashing at MLA Ganta Srinivasa Rao's decision to resign, Avanti said mere resignation was not sufficient to prove his apolitical stand. "Ganta Srinivasa Rao should also resign from TDP and join the main agitation. Chandrababu Naidu should plunge into direct action instead of issuing statements from Hyderabad against the state government," he added. The minister also flayed BJP and Jana Sena for their meek response to the agitation.

Meanwhile, all trade unions have decided to boycott the steel plant foundation day being observed on 18 February. The day will be observed as a protest day.

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