The two parties have accused each other of political violence, and have decided to conduct rallies in Atmakur on Wednesday.

Andhra Pradesh politics is seemingly becoming a tit-for-tat game, especially in the Palnadu region. Ruling party YSRCP and opposition TDP are not only hurling allegations of political violence at each other, they’ve also called for rallies against each other, on the same day at the same place. So much for creativity in public life! 

The Palnadu region includes parts of Guntur and Prakasam districts, like Gurajala and Markapur. Last week, the TDP set up a ‘rehabilitation shelter’ in Guntur for party sympathisers who were allegedly attacked by members and supporters of the ruling YSRCP. Alleging that people have been driven out of their villages by the YSRCP in the past 110 days – since they came to power – TDP President and former Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has called for a public rally on September 11.

“I am coming to Atmakur, to assure the victims, to save democracy and to exercise our rights. Public organisations and progressive people, come in solidarity with the victims.   #ChaloAtmakur,” Naidu tweeted on Monday. “We will not stop until justice is done,” he said. 

Responding to TDP’s allegations, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kishan Reddy has assured the TDP that he will seek a report from the DGP on the law and order situation in the state. 

Simultaneously, the YSRCP has decided to retaliate with its own call for ‘Chalo Atmakur’ on Wednesday. Their complaint? Political violence by TDP against YSRCO sympathisers, during their term. Calling the TDP’s claims ‘false propaganda’, YSRCP leaders are claiming to unearth ‘terror tales’ from the TDP’s term through victims of TDP’s political violence. 

Speaking to the media in Guntur, YSRCP leaders MP Mopidevi Venkataramana, MLA Ambati Rambabu, and MP Lavu Srikrishnadevarayulu retaliated with the exact same claims currently being made by the TDP – that in the previous term, YSRCP leaders and sympathisers were driven out of their villages, and were harassed with false cases.

TDP doesn’t have permission, nor does YSRCP

Soon after Naidu’s Chalo Atmakur call, Andhra Pradesh Home Minister Mekathoti Sucharita declared that no permission had been given to the TDP to conduct the program. 

Meanwhile, the Guntur police confirmed to TNM that the YSRCP, too, has not been given permission to conduct a rally.  

Speaking to the media on Monday, Home Minister Sucharita rubbished the TDP’s claims of attacks by YSRCP and biased treatment by the police. “Forty three cases have been registered which were filed by the TDP against YSRCP members. These numbers show that the police are not biased, anyone who comes to file a complaint, their case is being registered and inquired into,” Sucharita said. 

Alleging that the people at the TDP’s rehab camp were ‘paid artistes’ staging drama by claiming disruption of law and order, Sucharita assured that officials will visit the camp on a fact finding mission. “If their claims are found to be true, they will be provided protection and taken back to their villages,” she said. She also announced that an OSD (Officer on Special Duty) will be posted to Piduguralla. 

Section 144 in Palnadu

DGP Gautam Sawang has declared that section 144 of CrPC and section 30 of the Police Act (regulation of public assemblies and processions) are in place in Palnadu, at a time when Muharram and Ganesh idol immersion processions are to take place. 

“As of now, no processions are permitted at Palnadu, as section 144 is in place. Our responsibility is to maintain law and order, if someone comes from outside and tries to disturb it, we won’t allow it,” he said. 

But this has not deterred the TDP, with Chandrababu Naidu and his son Lokesh claiming that imposing section 144 in Palnadu at this time contradicts the claims of peace and normalcy. “The Chalo Atmakur program by Chandrababu Naidu will definitely be organised. We will not stay silent as the government shamelessly encourages YSRCP rowdies,” Lokesh tweeted.