The question doing the rounds in political circles in Andhra Pradesh is whether the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N Chandrababu Naidu will continue his 24-day “padayatra” after the dais collapse at Gadwal town in Mahabubnagar district on Friday.
Naidu escaped narrowly with minor injuries to his back while 40 others were injured, including local MLA K Jayapal Yadav. The crowd that thronged the public meeting surged onto the dais causing the collapse. Braving minor bruises, Naidu went ahead with his “padayatra”, only to call it off after covering a kilometre. His wife, Bhuvaneswari, and son, Lokesh, immediately left for Gadwal.
“Dad is fine but should rest,” tweeted Nara Lokesh from the spot. Naidu was advised a rest for three days. The TDP supremo was treated by a medical team stationed in a special van with a micro-chip X-ray facility. Actors Balakrishna and NTR junior called on Naidu on Friday and expressed solidarity with his padayatra. However, the TDP president is expected to resume his “padayatra” on Saturday.
A large number of people have begun joining the “padayatra” since it entered the Telangana region. A few incidents of disturbances caused by Telangana activists were also reported. The former chief minister clarified that the TDP was not opposed to a separate Telangana. “We have clarified our stand over a hundred times. We will express our views again if the Centre calls for an all-party meeting,” Naidu said.
Naidu launched his “padayatra” on Gandhi Jayanthi from Hindupur covering almost 500 km after traversing through Anantapur and Kurnool districts. Meanwhile, the YSR Congress leader Sharmila’s “padayatra,” launched from Idupulapaya on October 18, entered Anantapur district.
The Congress is planning “padayatras” by MLAs in each of the districts.