TDP supremo Chandrababu Naidu today said that there was no Visakhapatnam without the famous Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP).
"Not only is the steel plant an important part of the culture and history of Visakhapatnam, it has also helped many people find jobs - it has helped over five lakh people in the state. Further, it also helped the state through the revenue it generated," he claimed.
The leader made these comments after he flew down to Visakhapatnam to meet former MLA and TDP Parliamentary district unit president Palla Srinivasa Rao, who had launched a fast-unto-death to protest the Centre's decision to privatise the VSP.
Praising Srinivas, Naidu said, "Palla Srinivasa's fast is inspiring. It has breathed new life into the ongoing protests being held against the union government's decision to privatise the VSP," Naidu said.
Later the TDP head addressed a public meeting on the matter. Speaking on the occasion, he said that former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had been forced to visit Visakhapatnam after the people of the city had launched a similar agitation to ensure the establishment of the plant, for which 32 people had sacrificed their lives, and that the current protests would also surely yield results.
He also alleged that both the Centre and the current AP Chief Minister Y S Jaganmohan Reddy were disrespecting those very sacrifices.
"Our CM has been insulting the sacrifices made by those who lost their lives in the VSP agitation by running away from his responsibility to protect the plant, and by not actively resisting the Centre's decision to privatise a profitable plant. The representatives of the POSCO visited the state three times. I wonder why the CM did not say anything to them during the meetings held to discuss the matter. It is the government's duty to protect the people's interests. We, the Opposition, will also cooperate with such efforts," he said.
Various former ministers including K Atchannaidu and Bandaru Satyanarayana, TDP MLA, MLCs and other party leaders attended the meeting.
The Centre's recent call to privatise Andhra Pradesh's historic VSP has been receiving immense backlash. It has caused many leaders and workers' unions in the state to launch massive agitations
against the move, and even prompted MLA Ganta Srinivasa Rao to tender his resignation