Amaravati: Former chief minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N Chandrababu Naidu and several other leaders were taken into custody by police in Vijayawada on Wednesday when they tried to take out a "bus rally" in solidarity with the farmers’ agitation demanding that Amaravati should remain as Andhra Pradesh's capital. All the leaders were released hours later.
Naidu's son Lokesh and other TDP leaders, including K Atchannaidu, Kesineni Srinivas and Uma Maheswarrao, were among those detained on Wednesday night, said the police. They were shifted to a police bus to be driven away. Congress state unit vice-president Padma Sri and CPI general secretary Ramakrishna were also among those detained.
But this led to tension as TDP workers resisted the police move and blocked the bus. Meanwhile, the ignition key of the police bus mysteriously disappeared and it got stuck on the busy Benz Circle.
“Why is the government trying to play with the lives of the people? We have obeyed all rules and regulations, then why did the police stop us from moving ahead with the rally?" asked Naidu. "Let them arrest the protesters. I want to see how many people can be arrested.”
Soon after, Naidu was moved to another vehicle that took him back to his home at Undavalli.
Tension continued to simmer in the area as the police sought to use force to disperse the protesting TDP workers.
State Home Minister Sucharitha, however, accused Naidu of attempting to create a law and order issue in the city for his illegal lands in Amaravati. "How would people benefit from such rallies? The police handled the situation well,” said the minister.
The Amaravati Parirakshana Samiti (JAC), formed to resist the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government’s proposal to develop two more capitals in the state — Vishakhapatnam and Kurnool — along with Amaravati, had planned the bus rally to further their cause.
The farmers, who have given up their land for development of Amaravati as the capital, have been protesting for the past 23 days.
(With inputs from PTI)