The BJP’s Telangana unit chief Bandi Sanjay and other leaders were detained by the police in Hyderabad on Monday as they tried to lay siege to the Directorate of Health to protest what they called the state government’s failure to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Sanjay, also a Member of Parliament from Karimnagar, was leading the protest at the directorate’s office in Koti as part of a state-wide agitation called by the BJP.
Raising slogans of ‘KCR down down’ and ‘save Hyderabad from coronavirus’, the leaders also demanded the resignation of Health Minister Eatala Rajender.
The police placed several BJP leaders under house arrest in Hyderabad and other districts.
Former BJP state chief K Laxman, former Minister Peddi Reddy, former MP P Sudhakar and Member of State Legislative Council (MLC) Ramchandra Rao were among the leaders kept under house arrest.
Police had made tight security arrangements at the state BJP headquarters to prevent the leaders from carrying out any protest march.
Sanjay and some others, however, succeeded in reaching the directorate from where the police whisked them away in their vehicles.
Sanjay alleged that the Telangana Rashatra Samithi (TRS) government was using police force to suppress a democratic protest. He said that there was ‘devil’s rule’ in the state.
The BJP leader said that they called for the protest to demand that the government increase the number of COVID-19 tests being conducted in the state, fill up the vacancies in the Health department, and start services at the newly established Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences (TIMS).
He alleged that due to the inefficiency of the TRS government, coronavirus was spreading fast in the state.
He added that instead of responding to the points raised by BJP chief JP Nadda over COVID-19, TRS leaders tried to divert the people’s attention and raised allegations for political mileage.
Referring to Eatala Rajender’s counter attack on Nadda questioning him about the situation in BJP-ruled states, the state BJP president said Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh had conducted five lakh tests each. “Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh have also conducted 3 lakh tests each. How many tests have been conducted in Telangana?” he asked.
The BJP leader said the TRS government had been claiming that it procured 10 lakh PPE kits and 10 lakh N-95 masks but doctors had come out on the streets to protest over the lack of PPEs. He said the government failed to protect doctors, other healthcare workers and policemen.
Telangana has been witnessing a big surge in COVID-19 cases. On Sunday, it recorded 730 cases, the highest single-day jump since March 2, when the first case was detected.