Former chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has landed in a row after a television channel repeatedly showed a video clip of him assaulting a tribal woman during a meeting in East Godavari district on Friday.
The incident took place at Vanthada village near Pratipadu when Naidu was visiting the area to highlight illegal mining in the region.
The visuals telecast on Sakshi TV, which is owned by Congress parliamentarian Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, showed the Telugu Desam Party chief raising his hand to beat a woman, then snatching the mike from her and slapping her in the arm to make her sit down.
According to the channel, Naidu was irked when the woman questioned the need for frequent visits by politicians, disrupting their day-to-day work. She further said that there was no need of politicising the mines issue.
Condemning the incident, leaders of the ruling Congress party demanded that Naidu be booked under the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe Atrocities (Prevention) Act.
They also demanded that Naidu immediately resign from his position as leader of the opposition.
“It is shameful for a man who served as chief minister for nine years and leader of opposition for over six years to raise his hand on a woman,” said state Minister for Tribal Welfare P. Balaraju.
Leaders of several tribal organisations also demanded action against Naidu.
The TDP, however, countered the allegation saying Naidu was only trying to pacify two groups of quarrelling women who were eager to tell their side of the story.
Party leaders also said it was part of a smear campaign by Reddy to defame the main opposition party.