Naidu was on his way to meet the district collector there and make a representation to him on the unfair practices being adopted by the officials of the state machinery and the treatment being meted out to the party candidates
Former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu
The municipal election process is under way in Andhra Pradesh and the political atmosphere is charged. Senior leaders of the Telugu Desam Party, led by N Chandrababu Naidu, the former chief minister of the state and leader of the party that just lost power in the state, have been accusing the state government machinery of acting in an unfair manner. “The state government machinery is working all out for the ruling party and this includes the government employees, police and the village volunteers and various unfair means are being used to coerce some of the TDP candidates to withdraw their candidature,” says Jayadev Galla, TDP’s MP from the Guntur district in Andhra Pradesh.
Describing the move by the Chittoor police to detain Naidu at the Renigunta airport in Chittoor district on Monday, March 1, 2021 as totally unfair, Galla says, Naidu was on his way to meet the district collector there and make a representation to him on the unfair practices being adopted by the officials of the state machinery and the treatment being meted out to the party candidates and the TDP party activists.” But then, “he was detained on the grounds that he is going to create a law and order problem.”
The state government officials however maintain that TDP and its president wanted to conduct an agitation programme in the central part of the town called the Gandhi Junction. Speaking to Financial Express Online, Chittoor Superintendent of Police (SP) Senthil Kumar says, “since Gandhi Junction is the nerve centre of the town, any obstruction to people movement there or a hindrance to the movement of vehicles would have led to a gridlock in the region and encumbered an arterial part of the national highway passing through it. In the light of this, the party was told to consider shifting the venue to another location and given that it is to be an agitation programme involving around 5,000 people, seek the approval of the Election Commission. However, since that did not happen and also given that the COVID regulation do not permit for large gatherings, the police was left with no option but to detain Naidu at the airport itself,” where he still was when this article was being sent out for publishing.
However, Galla feels, the key point was that Naidu was only wanting to file a complaint with the collector but was denied this and that he was not intending to hold any big congregation as that is not his plan and if the argument of COVID regulations are being raised then what stops the administration from escorting Naidu directly to the collector, even that is not being done. He also argues that “even if Naidu was out there to campaign for his candidates what is wrong with that, after all, he is the party president.” But the state officials maintain that their understanding is that it was an agitation programme only and under the circumstances they were left with no option but to detail Naidu at the airport.