Dramatic scenes played out at the Renigunta airport near Tirupati on Monday when police blocked Telugu Desam Party (TDP) supremo N. Chandrababu Naidu from proceeding to carry out his programs. Naidu was seen arguing with senior police officers and even staging a sit-in for not been allowed to proceed further. A senior police officer sat beside Naidu and pleaded with folded hands to convince the former chief minister to refrain from his plans.
The high drama follows the police's denying permission to Chittoor district TDP president Pulivarthi Venakatamani Prasad to organise a protest which was supposed to be attended by Naidu.
The protest was planned on Monday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Chittoor.
"Under Covid-19 regulations, huge gatherings are not allowed. Model code of conduct for urban local body election is in effect. This is an agitational programme and not in the nature of an election campaign and thus not permissible under MCC," said a police official denying consent.
TDP planned to rope in 5,000 cadres for the protest but the police also cited traffic issues on national and state highways for their denial.
"Any violation of this order will be strictly dealt with in accordance with the law," police warned.
Naidu and TDP state president Kinjarapu Atchannaidu demanded ruling Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP) leaders to explain why the opposition has no right to hold tours and meetings in the state.
"YSRCP leaders have no right to create obstacles for the visits of such a senior leader. The common people were having doubts now whether they were brought under a jungleraj after the YSRCP came to power," claimed Atchannaidu.
He reminded that Naidu was a Chief Minister for 14 years with 40 years of political experience and condemned the alleged house arrests of Chittoor party leaders.
(With IANS inputs)