Leaders of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) were arrested across Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday as the day-long shutdown called by the opposition party was underway to protest against the attacks on its offices. Several top leaders of the party were placed under house arrest in the early hours of the day to prevent them from coming out and attending the protests. The leaders, who came out on streets and tried to enforce the shutdown, were arrested by the police.
Holding party flags and also black flags and raising slogans against the government, TDP leaders and workers hit the streets in all the districts and tried to stop buses of state-owned Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) from plying.
TDP's central office at Mangalagiri and party offices in some other parts of the state were attacked on Tuesday allegedly by the supporters of ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), who were angry over the use of some abusive words by TDP spokesman Pattabhi Ram against Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao.
Pattabhi Ram's house in Vijayawada was also attacked and ransacked by the protestors. Terming the attacks 'state-sponsored terrorism', TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu called for state-wide shutdown.
Senior TDP leader and former minister Devineni Uma was arrested at Gollapudi in Krishna district. The TDP leaders also staged a protest at Vijayawada bus stand. TDP MP K. Rammohan Naidu and other party leaders were arrested when they were staging a protest at the RTC complex at Srikakulam. Former minister and TDP politburo member Kala Venkatrao was placed under house arrest at Rajam.
Top leaders of the opposition party were placed under house arrest in Kurnool district. They included former MLA Meenakshi Naidu, Tikka Reddy, K. Sujatamma, S. Venkateshwarly, K.E. Prabhakar, Bhuma Brahmanand Reddy and MLC Farooq. MLA G. Butchaiah Chowdary was placed under house arrest in Rajamahendravaram. As a mark of protest, he along with some other TDP leaders sat on the ground in front of his house.
In Tirupati, TDP leaders Sugunamma and Narasimha Yadav were kept under house arrest. Sugunamma had an argument with the police officers who prevented her from leaving the house. Former minister Bandaru Satyanarayana Murthy and Palla Srinivas Rao were placed under house arrest in Visakhapatnam. Protesting party leaders and workers were arrested at various places in the district.
Tension prevailed at the residence of former minister Nakka Anand Babu in Guntur. Police stopped him from leaving the house. There was a heated argument between the TDP leaders and police.
Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police Gautam Sawang on Wednesday said that abusive language against a constitutional authority like the chief minister is unacceptable. He said the kind of vulgar language used by the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) spokesperson against the chief minister led to an unfortunate reaction on Tuesday in the form of attacks on TDP offices. Stating that action will be taken as per law, the police chief claimed that the law and order situation in the state was completely under control.
"There is rule of law in the state. Some may try to disrupt law and order but the police are well prepared. Law and order will be maintained," he said at a news conference dismissing TDP allegations of a breakdown in law and order.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy alleged on Wednesday that the Opposition being "unable to digest the popularity" of his government, is trying to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere in the state. At the launch of Jagananna Thodu Scheme which is aimed at providing financial assistance to traditional artisans, Reddy lashed out at the Telugu Desam Party (TDP). He alleged that the Opposition would also incite communal violence just to derail the government's welfare agenda.
Reacting to the attacks on TDP offices on Tuesday, Reddy said, "the Opposition leaders were using offensive language. It was the state-wide reaction of those who admire me and lost cool on hearing abusive language and misinformation being spread on television."
"Unfortunately the Opposition and a section of yellow media like Eenadu, Andhra Jyothi and TV5 are unable to digest the love and affection we receive from people," he said. Talking about the satisfaction he gets from serving people of his state, he added, "I would continue to serve the people despite the conspiracies and hurdles created by the Opposition."
(With IANS inputs)