'Ukku' movement gathers steam from Telangana too

All political parties, barring the BJP, extend their support to ‘Save Steel Plant’ stir in Visakhapatnam on Monday
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All political parties, barring the BJP, extend their support to ‘Save Steel Plant’ stir in Visakhapatnam on Monday

Highlights

The stir against the Centre's proposal to disinvest Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP) and go for privatisation grows intense with each passing day

Visakhapatnam: The stir against the Centre's proposal to disinvest Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP) and go for privatisation grows intense with each passing day. After decades, 'Visakha Ukku Andhrula Hakku' movement resumed three days back only to spread its tentacles across North Andhra. The agitation that started with trade unions drew all the parties -- YSRCP, TDP, BJP, Jana Sena Party, Congress and Left-wing parties -- together to fight for a common cause.

Political parties along with trade unions across the district are taking out massive protests. With the common man joining the battle, the slogan 'Viskha Ukku Andhrula Hakku' grew once again louder.

Apart from dharna, bike rally, public meeting and round table conference, the agitation is going to take another avatar in the coming days. One of them is hunger strike. Extending support to the protestors against VSP's privatisation move, YSRCP Visakhapatnam South MLA Vasupalli Ganesh Kumar is going to observe a day-long hunger-strike on Tuesday.

Three days later, trade unions are launching a relay hunger strike. Marking the Vizag Steel Plant Formation Day, trade union leaders and employees have decided to boycott the celebrations scheduled on February 18.

Instead, they say, the day will be observed as 'Steel Plant Protection Day'. Intensifying the protest, support is also coming from the neighbouring state Telangana. "Visakha Ukku Andhrula Hakku movement was earlier carried out across the united Andhra Pradesh. With many of the districts falling under the ambit of Telangana now, we are also getting support from the State to take the movement forward. This agitation is going to step up in a manner beyond any one could ever expect," asserts Ch Narasinga Rao, CPI (M) State secretariat member. As a part of the stir, a round table conference was held under the aegis of CITU.

Meanwhile, Congress and other political parties, barring the BJP, hosted another conference. They decided to step beyond their boundaries in order to save the Steel Plant from getting privatised. "Even I am prepared to sign and submit a blank letterhead so that it can be converted into the 'required format' as desired by some of the political leaders who passed a remark on my resignation letter," says Ganta Srinivasa Rao, Visakhapatnam North MLA.

Taking part in the agitation against privatising the Steel Plant at Gajuwaka BC road, Anakapalle MLA Gudivada Amarnath made sensational comments. "Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, who had taught a fitting lesson to the 130-year-old Congress, would not hesitate to 'revolt' against Prime Minister Narendra Modi if the situation arises. It is not a difficult task to pursue the Steel Plant issue with the Prime Minister as the CM could easily 'handle' the situation," the MLA says. As the days pass, the agitation is expected to be fiercer.

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