Visakhapatnam: Protests seeking special category status to Andhra Pradesh will greet Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he lands in this port city on Friday to address a public rally.
The ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the Congress, Left parties, Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the ‘Prateekya Hoda Sadhana Samithi’ – a group fighting for special category status, trade unions and various other organizations have called for protests during Modi’s visit.
Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday asked TDP leaders to stage the protests with black flags, black badges and black balloons.
The TDP chief reiterated that Modi has no right to visit the state without fulfilling the commitments he made.
Barring the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the YSR Congress, all parties had staged protest during Modi’s visit to Guntur on February 10. This was Modi’s first visit to the state after the TDP pulled out of BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in March last year over the issue of special status.
Naidu undertook a day-long fast in New Delhi on February 11 to demand the Centre to confer special category status and fulfill all the commitment made in Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2014. Leaders of several opposition parties had expressed solidarity with him.
Ahead of Modi’s visit to Visakhapatnam, the Centre announced creation of a railway zone named South Coast Railway with its headquarters at Visakhapatnam. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal’s announcement addressed one of the provisions of Reorganisation Act.
Hailing the announcement, state BJP leaders hoped that Modi would announce some more sops to the state on Friday.
Naidu, however, slammed the Centre for splitting Waltair Division while creating the new zone. He alleged that higher revenue-generating part of the division was merged with the railway zone in Odisha and termed this as another betrayal by Modi.
Meanwhile, elaborate security arrangements were in place for Modi’s visit. State police have deployed 2,200 personnel as part of the security at Railway Grounds where he will address a rally organized by the BJP.
Security agencies will be keeping a tight vigil around the rally venue in view of the tense situation on India-Pakistan border and the protests called by various parties seeking special category status to the state.
Senior police officials led by Visakhapatnam Commissioner of Police Mahesh Chandra Laddha will monitor the security. Police, in coordination with Special Protection Group, installed barricades and made other arrangements. Bomb disposal squads and dog squads were also deployed.