Tirupati, March 1, 2021-
Andhra Pradesh opposition leader and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) national president Nara Chandrababu Naidu on Monday accused the state government of trying to silence him after he was detained and not allowed to proceed for a protest.
“We will not be stopped, we will not be silenced,” said Naidu after being detained by the police, who cited the coronavirus protocol, model code of conduct and traffic concerns for letting him carry out his protest plans.
“Your fear driven, state sponsored vendetta won’t stop me from reaching out to my people,” claimed Naidu, advising Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy to ‘grow up’.
Dramatic scenes were witnessed at the Renigunta airport near Tirupati on Monday morning when police blocked Naidu.
Naidu was seen arguing with senior police officers and even staging a sit-in for not allowing him to proceed.
A senior police officer sat beside Naidu and pleaded with folded hands to convince the former Chief Minister to refrain from his plans.
“What is the need? There is Covid but all the meetings are happening, even elections. As many as 55,000 to 60,000 people are visiting Venkateswara Swamy’s temple. Why me? You need permission for the protest,” said Naidu, trying to reason out with the police.
He demanded that he wanted to meet Chittoor district Collector and Superintendent of Police to which the policemen said they would inform them.
However, when Naidu said he wanted to address the media, police did not allow him, sparking a furious reaction from the TDP supremo.
Naidu argued with the policemen that he should be allowed to speak to the media as to why he came there.
“Otherwise arrest me and take me away. What is this? What is ‘dourjanyam’ (blatant injustice)? Is it not blatant injustice? Don’t I have the fundamental right to meet the collector? What is this? What happened in this country? Am I going to murder somebody? I worked as a CM for 14 years. I am the opposition leader. Is this a joke? Tell me why did you detain me?” said Naidu at a posse of policemen inside the airport.
The airport high drama followed the police denying permission to Chittoor district TDP chief Pulivarthi Venakatamani Prasad to organise a protest which was supposed to be attended by Naidu.
The protest was planned on Monday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Chittoor.
“Under Covid-19 regulations, huge gatherings are not allowed. Model code of conduct for urban local body elections is in effect. This is an agitational programme and not in the nature of an election campaign and thus not permissible under MCC,” said a police official denying consent.
In reply, a police officer offered to call the SP to the airport but Naidu questioned him as to who he was to call the SP for him and sat on the floor.
“Why do I need your permission to go to the SP? If you want you can follow me. I have to go to the collector and Tirupati SP, I will go. Don’t call them here, I am not that great a person. I don’t want any honour, save the democracy,” said Naidu sitting on the floor.
As police pleaded Naidu to sit inside, he rejected their pleas and said that he would continue to sit on the floor.
TDP planned to rope in 5,000 cadres for the protest but the police also cited traffic issues on the national and state highways for the denial.
“Any violation of this order will be strictly dealt with in accordance with the law,” police warned.
Naidu and TDP state chief Kinjarapu Atchannaidu demanded the ruling Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP) leaders to explain if he had no right to hold tours and meetings in the state.
“YSRCP leaders had no right to create obstacles for the visits of such a senior leader. The common people were having doubts now whether they were brought under a jungle raj after the YSRCP came to power,” claimed Atchannaidu.
He reminded that Naidu was a Chief Minister for 14 years with 40 years of political experience and condemned the alleged house arrests of Chittoor party leaders. (Agency)