The Andhra Pradesh police on Saturday arrested two state cabinet ministers in Mahbubnagar district to avert a possible clash between their groups.
Information and public relations minister DK Aruna and endowments minister Juppali Krishna Rao, who had mobilised their supporters, were arrested at Dharur and Tummalapalle, respectively, as they were heading for a clash in Gadwal town, the police said.
Aruna was later released on personal surety as she had to take part in former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's death anniversary programme, a senior police officer said.
Aruna was allegedly opposed to Rao’s decision to hold a padayatra (foot march) in Gadwal, her assembly constituency, and had threatened to prevent him from entering her home turf.
She had even petitioned chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy alleging Rao was attempting to “gain total control over the district and marginalise her”.
Rao has been on a padyatra in the district since April 28, demanding statehood for Telangana. In the wake of Aruna’s warning, Rao had sought police protection, as his yatra was to enter Gadwal on Saturday.
“When I have covered several constituencies in the district, peacefully, where was the need for the police to arrest me today?” said Rao.
Both the ministers were taken into preventive custody to avert a law and order problem, Mahbubnagar superintendent of police G Sudheer Babu said, adding that the situation was under control.
(With agency inputs)