Chandrababu Naidu detained at Tirupati, stages sit-in at airport floor
Former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu on Monday staged a sit-in inside the arrival lounge of the Tirupati international airport at Renigunta after he was detained by the police and told that he cannot enter the temple town due to enforcement of model code of conduct for the ongoing municipal elections in the state.
The leader was to join his Telugu Desam Party leaders in protest against the YSR Congress Party. The TDP has alleged that the YSR Congress, with the help of police, is forcing the opposition candidates to withdraw their nominations in the municipal elections scheduled to be held on March 10.
“Political parties are taking out rallies on account of elections and thousands of pilgrims are visiting Tirumala temple. Why are you imposing restrictions only on us?” TDP chief Naidu asked policemen.
Several TDP leaders from Chittoor district, including former minister N Amarnath Reddy, former MLA M Sugunamma, MLC BN Dorababu and district TDP president Pulivarthi Nani were kept under house arrest.
The TDP leaders held dharnas at the Mahatma Gandhi statues in Chittoor and Tirupati towns in protest against the alleged atrocities by the YSR Congress Party leaders in the municipal elections.
The police, however, have refused to give permission to stage any dharnas citing the coronavirus pandemic and also because of the enforcement of the model code of conduct that prohibits any agitation by any political party.
Naidu landed in Tirupati airport at around 10.30 am to take part in the dharna programmes of the TDP. Senior police officials who were already present at the airport detained him.
The police authorities refused to concede the request of Naidu to allow him to at least submit a memorandum to the district collector and superintendent of police. They seized the mobile phones of Naidu and his associates.
When the police served him with a notice stating that he would have to be arrested if he violated the prohibitory orders, an angry Naidu squatted on the floor at the airport lounge in protest. With folded hands, the police officials pleaded with him not to create disturbance at the airport, but the leader was unmoved.
They said the collector and the SP would come to the airport to receive his representations. As an opposition leader, he had every right to meet the officials, the leader asserted.
According to latest reports, the authorities are making efforts to send the TDP chief back to Amaravati.