VSP Privatisation: Senior TDP leader Ganta Srinivas resigns

In a rude shock to the Telugu Desam Party, senior legislator Ganta Srinivasa Rao said he submitted his resignation from his post in protest against the Centre’s decision to privatise Visakhapatnam Steel Plant. 
Ganta Srinivasa Rao, who represents the North Assembly constituency in Visakhapatnam, said the resignation letter was sent to the Speaker of the House. Speaking to media, he said there is a need for a non-political joint action committee to fight for the protection of the steel plant as it was achieved after several people sacrificed their lives. 
He said the plant faced a similar situation when he was an MP, and that it could be saved due to the intervention of then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. A major reason for the steel plant being in losses is lack of captive mines, he observed, and urged every citizen to join the struggle again. Ganta said his resignation is the first step towards exerting pressure on the central government to withdraw its decision. 
“People’s representatives from all parties should resign and build a mass movement forcing the government to rethink its decision. The steel plant is the face of Visakhapatnam, and instant protests following the government decision reflects the mood of people.”
The MLA urged the state government to come forward and protect the steel plant. “Chief Minister Jagan should visit Delhi to discuss the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the divestment committee.” Srinivasa Rao said he did not inform the party high command before resigning. However, it welcomed his decision. 
Meanwhile, BJP’s PVN Madhav said resignation is not a solution but there should be a strategic agitation to achieve the demand. He and other party leaders recently met Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Union minister for steel in Delhi, and were told that the decision for disinvestment of VSP was taken to mobilise Rs. 1.75 lakh-crore this year. 
“We have proposed alternatives to the disinvestment, such as issuance of public equity, allotment of captive mines, and merger of RINL with SAIL and NMDC for a mega PSU,” he said, adding that the BJP leaders from AP will be meeting BJP national president J.P. Nadda and other ministers to discuss the issue on February 14.
The Union Cabinet cleared the privatisation of steel-maker Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL), DIPAM (Department of Investment and Public Asset Management) Secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey tweeted on February 3. The RINL strategic sale proceeds would be part of the disinvestment target for next fiscal.

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