Defiant Naidu sent back, gains ground in state | india | Hindustan Times
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Defiant Naidu sent back, gains ground in state

In a bid to end the controversy over the arrest of Telugu Desam Party chief N. Chandrababu Naidu, the Maharashtra government on Tuesday withdrew cases against him and sent him to Hyderabad.

india Updated: Jul 21, 2010 00:50 IST
HT Correspondents

In a bid to end the controversy over the arrest of Telugu Desam Party chief N. Chandrababu Naidu, the Maharashtra government on Tuesday withdrew cases against him and sent him to Hyderabad.

Late on Tuesday, the reluctant Naidu and his colleagues were put into a chartered Indian Airlines plane and flown to Hyderabad.

Police officials had to coax Naidu and 66 other TDP leaders into the aircraft after they staged another protest at the Aurangabad airport. Naidu was irked at not being told about the move till he reached the outskirts of Aurangabad.

Naidu and his supporters were arrested on Friday when they entered the Dharmabad area in Nanded district to stop work at the disputed Babhli barrage on the Godavari river.

The TDP has been agitating against the project, claiming it would adversely affect the flow of the river water into Telangana and coastal Andhra.

“The TDP delegation has been sent to Hyderabad. This was the best option for us,” said a senior Maharashtra government official.

In AP, there were widespread protests after news spread that the Maharashtra police had “manhandled” Naidu and three legislators while trying to shift them to Aurangabad jail from the Dharmabad polytechnic.

Naidu is the gainer

The TDP agitation against the Babhli project has clearly given Naidu a reason to hold his head high in Telangana. Six months ago, he was wary of entering the region lest some villager stop and demand that he spell out his stand on the division of AP.

After many flip-flops, Naidu is yet to state his stand on creation of a Telangana, but the agitation has helped him gain political ground, political analysts told HT from Hyderabad.

“Politicians have their own motives when they take up any agitation. But Naidu has raised a genuine issue affecting two regions of the state, primarily Telangana. In place of the volatile and divisive issue of Telangana, he strategically chose an issue that unites the state,” said K. Nageshwar, professor of journalism at Osmania University.

“More than electoral benefits, Babhli has brought several political benefits for the TDP,” he added.