TDP yatra rocks M'rashtra

Chandrababu Naidu plays Telugu card, refuses to seek bail

Both Houses of the Maharashtra legislature were adjourned for the day on Monday following uproarious scenes over Telugu Desam Party (TDP) supremo Chandrababu Naidu’s yatra against Babhali project in Nanded district bordering Andhra Pradesh.

As soon as both Houses met here, members from the treasury as well as the opposition benches raised slogans against Naidu and accused him of playing politics with an eye on the ensuing by-elections in the Telangana region.

Amidst slogan-shouting and unruly scenes, the Speaker adjourned the House twice and later for the day.

Chief Minister Ashok Chavan convened a high-level meeting later in the day at  Secretariat to discuss the issue and find a way out. The legislators, however, have asked the state government to take a firm stand on the issue.

In all, 74 leaders of the TDP, including 50 MLAs, MLCs and MPs led by Naidu, were arrested when they tried to enter the Maharashtra territory to visit the Babhali project site on Friday. The TDP leaders were charged under Sections 135, 143 and 188 of the IPC for violating prohibitory orders in force in Dharmabad, which is just 12 km from Maharashtra-Andhra border.

The standoff continued when Naidu refused to apply for bail again on Monday and the Dharmabad magistrate was left with no option but to extend his judicial custody.
Naidu rejected the magistrate’s suggestion to seek bail and return to Andhra Pradesh when the latter called on the TDP leaders at Dharmabad ITI, where they have been lodged for past two days.

“We are honourable citizens. We are Telugu people who have strong self-respect. We were deceived by the Maharashtra police and illegally detained by them, that too in our territory in total violation of the Constitution,” Naidu told the magistrate during the 30-minute hearing conducted at the ITI complex.

Naidu also made it clear that it was a question of their self-esteem and hence would not compromise. He also stated that the TDP leaders would not return without visiting the Babhali project.

Meanwhile, the condition of at least five TDP leaders deteriorated during the day-long hunger strike on Sunday. The condition of Abdul Gani, a legislator from Hindupur, was stated to be serious.

‘Won’t allow Naidu to visit Babhli’
The Maharashtra government on Monday decided to call the TDP supremo Chandrababu Naidu’s bluff by not allowing him and his supporters to visit the Babhli barrage site in Nanded district bordering Andhra Pradesh, reports DHNS from Mumbai.

The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by the chief minister Ashok Chavan at the secretariat, which was convened to take stock of the situation after Naidu played the Telugu pride card and refused to apply for bail.

“The former Andhra Pradesh chief minister and his delegation will not be allowed to visit the Babhli barrage (site),” Chavan said.

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