Chandrababu defies curbs, spars with police in tension-filled Kuppam

Taking the day-long tension surrounding his visit to a flashpoint, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu vented his anger over the police who denied him permission


KUPPAM: Taking the day-long tension surrounding his visit to Kuppam to a flashpoint, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief Chandrababu Naidu on Wednesday evening vented his anger over the police who denied him permission and lambasted Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy for trying to scuttle his programme out of fear.

The TDP chief, who arrived in Kuppam by road from Bengaluru, was scheduled to take out roadshows in Santipuram mandal of his Assembly constituency Kuppam. He was also supposed to address a public meeting at Kenumakulapalli.

But his and his partymen’s plans ran into rough weather as the police enforced strict curbs based on the recent ban order issued by the YSRCP government of YS Jaganmohan Reddy. All types of public meetings and roadshows on roads were prohibited in the wake of twin tragedies that took place at two of Chandrababu Naidu’s recent events in Kandukur and Guntur. The stampedes which took place at these programmes resulted in the killing of 11 people.

But striking a defiant posture, Chandrababu Naidu decided to go ahead with his tour plan despite the strict restrictions. The Chittoor district police, who stopped Naidu at Pedduru on his way to Santipuram mandal on Wednesday evening, also tried to serve the notice asking him not to conduct roadshows. The police told the TDP chief that he could, however, go door-to-door and meet people instead of conducting the roadshows.

Refusing to take the notice, Chandrababu was seen having a heated argument with the police. On being denied permission to enter Kuppam, he later addressed the gathering of the TDP men and targetted YS Jagan for bringing the prohibitive GO. He questioned the State Government as to why the GO was issued when there was a police act in place. He claimed that his meetings and roadshows had been attracting the youths and farmers in hordes. He alleged that YS Jagan had developed a cold feet seeing the public response and so came up with the order banning public meetings.

At one stage, he was even heard asking his partymen to whisk away the media personnel representing Sakshi. Referring to a Sakshi report in the day claiming that the TDP activists attacked the policemen, Chandrababu Naidu warned the reporters of the media group that people would retaliate against them if they continued with what he described as ‘misinformation’.

Time has come for Jagan to go home

Chandarbabu Naidu lambasted both the State Government and the police for creating hurdles to his visit to Kuppam, his home constituency.

Talking to media persons at Peddur Chandrababu Naidu reminded both the State Government and the police that he won from Kuppam seven times and that he had informed the police about his visit well in advance. He felt that the government issuing GO No-1 clearly indicated that the meetings should be held only with the generosity of the ruling party.

Pointing out that Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy, on Tuesday organised a meeting at Rajahmundry where a holiday was declared for all educational institutions and people were forcibly shifted to his meeting, the TDP supremo alleged that even Dwcra women were threatened with discontinuation of their pension if they failed to attend the meeting.

"How could the YSRCP leaders organise a meeting at Vizianagaram after the GO was issued,” he asked.

As there is a lot of awareness among the public, they are now attending the TDP meetings on a large scale, he said and felt that the time had come for Jagan to go home. "He will not win again and has to go home," the TDP national president said, adding that the people were now reposing faith in the TDP with the hope that it would bail out the State.

"Had I, as chief minister, taken similar decisions like this, Jagan would not have even moved out. How can the State Government impose restrictions on me to visit my own constituency," Chandrababu wondered.

Stating that he has already asked the local Deputy Superintendent of POlice (DSP) as to why he is not allowed to move around in Kuppam, the former chief minister wanted to know under which law his roadshow is being stopped. "The DSP tells me to make door-to-door visits to meet the people personally and interact with them," Chandrababu said.

Asking the State Government and the police whether the GO that was brought in on January 2 has any legitimacy, Chandrababu said that in the GO there was no mention of the amendment made in 1946 to the Police Act 1861. "If necessary, any law can be adopted but a gazette notification should be issued after adopting the law and only then, it can be implemented," he stated.

Not long before Naidu was denied permission, trouble also broke out when some TDP workers reportedly attacked the policemen. The incident happened after the TDP activists, who were proceeding to Kenumakulapalli in Santipuram for Chandrababu Naidu’s roadshow and meeting.

The police, who denied permission for the TDP chief’s roadshows, also removed the stage erected in Kenumakulapalli. A heated argument ensued between the police and the angry TDP workers and as tempers ran high, one of the activists even reportedly manhandled a policeman on duty. In a violent reaction, some of the party workers also lifted the iron barricades and threw them off the road.

Tension grips Kuppam

Tension prevailed in Kuppam throughout Wednesday ever since the police denied permission for Chandrababu Naidu’s tour programme, citing the prohibitory orders in place.

Santipuram, the mandal that Chandrababu Naidu was scheduled to go around in a roadshow on Wednesday evening wore the look of a battle zone with the deployment of a heavy posse of policemen.

Triggering tension, the Palamaneru police served a notice on the TDP leaders denying permission for Naidu’s roadshows and public meetings on the roads. A request from the TDP leaders seeking permission for Chandrababu Naidu to holde a meeting at the NTR centre in Santipuram was also summarily rejected.

Earlier, the TDP chief’s campaign chariot (prachara ratham) and another truck with sound systems were also stopped and seized when they were on their way to Santipuram. The drivers of the vehicles and a few party activists were also taken into preventive detention.

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