New Delhi: Students supporting the cause of a united Andhra Pradesh began a sit-in protest outside the residence of Congress Party leader K. Chiranjeevi here on Monday, days after the Union Cabinet cleared the bill for the bifurcation of the southern state.

The cabinet held a special meeting to pass the bill for the creation of a separate Telangana state on February 7.

Meanwhile, the president of the Samaikyandhra Students Association, A Kishore Kumar, said ministers from the state and the political parties are paying no heed to their  agitation for a united state.

“We are all demanding the state should be united, whatever the government, central ministers, they have to take a stand and talk to all the political parties who are there in Delhi but they are not doing it. Students like us are coming and approaching them, brushing and bathing in front of their house but still he is not caring at all,” said Kumar.

The bill would now be sent to the Rajya Sabha for approval.

In July last year, the Congress Party approved the creation of a new Telangana state, which had raised fears of violence in the area, home to global firms including Google.

Soon after clearing of the bill, a senior leader of India’s ruling Congress party Digvijay Singh urged pro-Telangana supporters and political parties to back the decision.

An agitated student protester, Chaitanya, who poured kerosene on himself for immolation but was pushed aside by others, claimed they have been fighting for the past several years and were ready to sacrifice their lives for the cause of a united Andhra.

“Just for two weeks’ ministerial position, all the ministers are doing cheap politics. The cabinet has passed the bill. We have been protesting since the past four to five years and we students are even ready to sacrifice our lives during this agitation,” said he.

The decision to break up Andhra Pradesh and establish a new state comes ahead of upcoming general elections and critics say the Congress party is seeking to shore up its political fortunes after dragging its feet over the explosive issue for four decades.

The proposal of the bill was received with mixed emotions across the state, with various politicians starkly opposing the bifurcation.

Supporters, however, say Telangana’s economic development has been neglected in favour of the richer and more powerful Andhra region, and that a new state is the only solution.

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Free Press Journal