Eight days after surviving an ambush by Naxalites, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday had an emotional interaction with Telugu Desam Party activists and called for a people's movement to mount pressure on extremists to eschew the path of violence and join the mainstream.
"I have no fear of death. I will work for the development of the state till the last drop of my blood. I have got a fresh lease of life because of God's grace and the people's affection," Naidu said in a live television programme 'Dial Your Party President' in Hyderabad.
As scores of callers expressed solidarity with him during the two-hour long programme, the TDP supremo, braving nagging pain in the collarbone, asked partymen to build public awareness about the Naxalite menace and work for "transformation among the misguided extremist youth."
Clad in white dhoti and an off-white shirt, Naidu, with his left arm tucked in an arm sling, was seen holding back tears as emotional partymen narrated how they were saddened by the Naxalite attack on him and prayed for his speedy recovery.
"I am prepared to sacrifice my life for the sake of the people. But for their love and affection, I would have died on that day (when Naxals blasted his bullet-proof car)," the chief minister said in an emotion-choked voice.
"It is a re-birth for me. I believe God has granted me punarjanma (rebirth) for some specific purpose. I will fulfill the task of developing the state, wiping out tears from the faces of the poor and make this state a role model in the country."
While skirting the issue of reviving peace talks with the outlawed People's War group, he, however, made a fervent appeal to them to give up violence and join the social mainstream and promised appropriate rehabilitation.
"Why should they (extremists) target me when I am working tirelessly for the welfare of the poor. Am I an obstacle for them?" he asked.
Terming Naxalism as an 'outdated philosophy bereft of public support', Naidu said extremists are only engaged in eliminating people's representatives, policemen and innocent villagers and obstructing developmental activities.
Exhorting people to unitedly face the challenges being posed by Naxalites, he said, "The outdated concept of achieving power through the barrel of gun will not yield any results. It is an affront on democracy and the values for which freedom fighters and the founders of the Constitution stood. It is time they (Naxalites) realised the futility of their violent path and join the efforts in developing the state."
He called for building a mass movement to mount pressure on extremists to give up their violent agenda pointing out how people across the state are resisting Naxalite activities.
He also urged the parties across the political spectrum to 'condemn with one voice' the Naxalite attacks targeting public properties and people's representatives.
Responding to the plea by partymen that he should be more careful about his personal security, the chief minister said, "We cannot live in fear. We need to boldly face the challenges and continue to work with devotion and dedication."
The programme was beamed live from Naidu's Jubilee Hills residence by Teja channel, a sister concern of Sun Television Network.