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Friday, Sep 20, 2019

Chandrababu Naidu under house arrest, slams CM Jagan’s ‘mentality’

The police stopped Naidu and Lokesh, a member of the Andhra Pradesh legislative council, just before they were scheduled to head to Atmakur village in Guntur district to lead a “Chalo Atmakur” stir.

south Updated: Sep 12, 2019 00:52 IST
TDP Chief N Chandrababu Naidu addresses followers from his residence in Amaravati on Wednesday. ()
TDP Chief N Chandrababu Naidu addresses followers from his residence in Amaravati on Wednesday. ()(ANI PHOTO)
         

Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president and former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu and his lawmaker son Nara Lokesh were put under house arrest on Wednesday to prevent them from participating in a protest against the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy-led state government.

The police stopped Naidu and Lokesh, a member of the Andhra Pradesh legislative council, just before they were scheduled to head to Atmakur village in Guntur district to lead a “Chalo Atmakur” stir. They were to be accompanied by 127 families allegedly hounded out of their villages by the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) for supporting the TDP.

Section 144 was imposed in the area and barricades were put up along the path leading to Naidu’s residence.

The drama unfolded at 8am when Naidu and Lokesh were to leave for Atmakur. “It is a black day in the history of the state. We have been denied the right to give moral support to those who were victimised by the ruling party cadres. All that we wanted to do was to take out a rally and send the victims back to their villages. I don’t understand how it would lead to law and order breakdown,” Naidu said.

Lokesh said the state government was dictatorial and had killed the democracy. “This is dictatorship, the government is behaving like ‘Tughlaq’. We are being stopped in an undemocratic manner. We have seen 100 days and we are asking for the account of these 100 days,” he said.

The state’s director general of police, Gautam Sawang, said Naidu, who is also the Leader of Opposition, was taken into “preventive custody” as his actions were creating disturbance in the region.

Naidu then sat on a day-long hunger strike protesting against the state police’s “high-handed attitude”.

Earlier in the day, several TDP leaders were also put under house arrest. Vijayawada MP Kesineni Nani, former minister Gollapalli Surya Rao, TDP youth wing president Devineni Avinash, and MLC Dinesh Reddy were among those taken into custody at the Prakasam Barrage connecting Vijayawada and Guntur. An official figure wasn’t given on the number of house arrests.

Meanwhile, the police, along with the revenue officials, went to the TDP rehabilitation camp where the villagers were staying for the past nine days, and identified 200 people belonging to five villages from Guntur’s Palnadu region. The administration made arrangements for sending the aggrieved villagers back home after assuring them safety and security.

YSRCP leaders also sought police permission for another rally from Guntur to Atmakur to express their solidarity with the villagers who had allegedly faced torture and harassment during the previous TDP regime. However, the police denied them permission.

Party MLC and spokesman Ummareddy Venkateshwarlu described Naidu’s protests and his attempt to take out a rally to Palnadu as “high drama”.

YSRCP MLAs from Palnadu Pinnelli Ramakrishna Reddy, Kasu Mahesh Reddy, G Srinivas Reddy and Ambati Rambabu challenged Naidu to prove that their leaders had victimised the villagers. Addressing media, they said they were ready to go with the TDP leaders to prove their allegations wrong.

Political analyst S Ramakrishna said clashes between supporters of rival political parties were common in rural areas after any elections. “But Naidu sought to exploit these clashes for political gains for the coming local body elections and also to boost the morale of the TDP cadre,” he said.

First Published: Sep 11, 2019 23:58 IST