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Naidu braves fresh death threat

Hyderabad, Oct. 9: Andhra Pradesh chief minister . Chandrababu Naidu today offered to sacrifice his life if Naxalites felt it would help develop the backward areas of the state.

The Telugu Desam Party chief said during a live television programme that he was not scared of extremist threats and would fight to the last drop of his blood for the betterment of the people.

The chief minister’s remarks came in the wake of yet another threat by the outlaws. “We wanted to maim him (Naidu) in his native district, but he escaped. The People’s War will not allow him to sleep and will act once again within 30 days,” said a letter sent to the Chittoor superintendent of police.

Posters on a bus in Nalgonda district also spoke of the Naxalites targeting Naidu and four other leaders, including Desam MP Sukhender Reddy.

However, Naidu said he would not compromise with people “who talk through the barrel of a gun”. Their policies and programmes are outdated, said Naidu during the two-hour “Dial-Your-President” programme.

Scores of callers expressed solidarity with the Desam chief during his interaction with party members that was beamed live from Naidu’s home — instead of the party office — today as the 2-km car journey would have strained him.

“Even as I speak I am in heavy pain. Doctors say it will take nearly 45 days for me to fully recover. I cannot walk or talk much. If I am able to undertake this much of effort, it is because of your blessings, love and affection,” Naidu told his party members. The Desam leader also assured party members that he would not spare even cabinet colleagues or MPs found guilty of “misdeeds”.

A steady stream of VIPs kept visiting him today, including Union minister S. Thirunavukkasar and BJP MP Vijay Malhotra. Other prominent visitors included actor Rajasekhar and actress wife Jeevitha, Tamil actor Sharat Kumar with actress wife Radhika.

Former Youth Congress leader M.S. Bitta also called on the Desam chief and offered him prasad from the Golden Temple and presented Naidu a turban.

Bitta contended that the Andhra chief minister should be given a security network equivalent to that of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The panel headed by former SPG director Subramanyam has in its report pointed a finger at the state intelligence apparatus for not keeping track of extremist movements. The Andhra administration then moved swiftly to replace the chief of state intelligence, Shivshankar, with senior IPS officer Durgaprasad. Naidu also shifted Hyderabad city police commissioner M.V. Krishna Rao and brought in R.P. Singh.

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