Nara Lokesh arrested on his way to Palasa; TDP, Naidu condemn arrests

Telugu Desam Party leader Nara Lokesh was taken into preventive custody by the Srikakulam police on Sunday


SRIKAKULAM: Telugu Desam Party leader Nara Lokesh was taken into preventive custody by the Srikakulam police on Sunday. The TDP national general secretary was intercepted when he was on his way to Palasa to meet a party activist who, the opposition party alleges, is a victim of the atrocities of local ruling YSRCP party leaders.

Lokesh was welcomed by TDP senior leader Kala Venkata Rao and others, upon the former's arrival in the district. Soon, high tension and confusion prevailed when the district police intercepted Lokesh's convoy and took him into preventive detention. The TDP leaders alleged that Lokesh was later whisked away in a police vehicle which kept roaming around on the Srikakulam-Etcherla highway.

The partymen were plunged into a state of confusion for some time with no information forthcoming on where the TDP leader was taken to. The police are believed to have taken this preventive step to thwart any untoward incidents in the wake of protest calls given by the local YSRCP leaders to counter Lokesh's tour.

It was not immediately known where the police vehicle carrying Lokesh was heading to and whether the TDP leader continued to be under preventive arrest. On the other hand, the police action kicked up a political storm with the TDP, led by its chief and father of Lokesh Nara Chandrababu Naidu, launching a scathing attack on the ruling YSRCP Government and Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy in particular.

The situation only turned worse when the police also arrested TDP Andhra Pradesh unit president and Tekkali MLA Kinjarapu Atchannaidu and MP Rammohan Naidu besides others after foiling their attempt to proceed to Palasa. The TDP contingent was stopped at the Madapam toll gate by a heavy posse of police. They denied them permission to go further and tried to persuade them to retreat. But with the TDP leaders refusing to relent, the police took them into preventive detention and shifted them to the Narsannapet police station.

Speaking on this occasion, Atchannaidu claimed that Lokesh's visit to the district had sent shivers down the spine for the YSRCP leaders and the government. He wondered what was wrong in the TDP leaders' proposed visit to meet their activists in Palasa. The legislator threatened the police with stern action once the TDP came to power.

Earlier, a host of TDP leaders led by their president Chandrababu Naidu took to Twitter to lampoon the state government for taking Lokesh into preventive detention.

Naidu, in his Telugu tweet, said: "Why is the Chief Minister (YS Jagan) so scared if our leaders are going to meet our own party workers? The state government must spell out the reasons for the preventive arrests and the restrictions on the movements of our leaders. You cannot gag the people from questioning your autocratic ways in filing cases indiscriminately and your late-night illegal demolitions of structures. The government is visibly shaken up because they had brazenly resorted to vendetta politics with their atrocities in Palasa".

Atchannaidu too tweeted, saying: "The days are numbered for the tyrant who is acting in complete violation of the constitution. Preventive arrests are being used as the government is worried that the TDP leaders' visit will expose its atrocities. The YSRCP Government should devote at least 10 percent of its time, spent on harassing TDP leaders, to maintain law and order".

Several other leaders of the TDP, including Yanamala Ramakrishnudu, condemned the preventive arrest of Lokesh and demanded his immediate release.

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