Poor response to TD's protest call, leaders cite absence of seniors
DECCAN CHRONICLE | DC Correspondent
Vijayawada: The Telugu Desam’s call for hunger strikes on Sunday to protest the arrest of its chief N. Chandrababu Naidu in the skill development scam case got a poor response across Andhra Pradesh.
While fasts were held in a few areas, the overall picture was not one of enthusiastic protest as anticipated by the TD’s top leadership.
Unhappy with the situation, TD’s AP chief Kinjarapu Atchannaidu is reported to have held a conference call with party leaders, instructing them to organise major protests. A leaked audio of the purported call also went viral on social media.
While TD leaders did step up their action and start protests, they received support only in select pockets.
TD leaders attributed this subdued response to the absence of senior party leaders, who have been either placed under house arrest or detained.
A senior party leader explained that party workers typically rely on day-to-day guidance from senior leaders and that they did not receive clear instructions over the past two days. Therefore, they chose to remain relatively quiet.
Another leader, who preferred not to be identified, mentioned that the party cadres were deeply shocked by the arrest of the party chief, due to which they were unable to decide on spontaneous protests.
TD leaders and cadres staged protests in Chirala and Parchur in Bapatla district, airing slogans against the government, but the police foiled these protests by arresting them. In Avanigadda, TD leaders protested the arrest, with Varla Kumar Raja and other leaders enthusing the cadres.
At Pedakurapadu of Palnadu district, Opposition leaders led by former legislator Kommalapati Sridhar staged a relay hunger strike, with a similar situation observed in Sattenapalli too.
Small groups of TD activists staged protests at Ponnur, Addanki, Giddalur, Guntur, Tadikonda, Nellore and other areas.
Several TD leaders, including Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy, Ponguru Narayana, Kotamreddy Srinivasulu Reddy and Anam Ramanarayana Reddy in Nellore were placed under house arrest.
The police also foiled a protest by former TD MLA Arimilli Radhakrishna at Tanuku by arresting and shifting him to a police station.
The response to the protest call received a lukewarm response in the Kurnool region as well, with local leaders holding only nominal protests, both on the day of arrest and the following day.
On Saturday, senior leaders who were in Nandyal to attend Naidu's roadshow were also arrested, while others were placed under house arrest. But there was no spontaneous reaction from second or third-line party members.
Some senior leaders and district incharges confined their protests to the party offices and media conferences.
Kurnool district has seven Assembly constituencies, with Nandyal district also having seven segments. But on Saturday, only a handful of leaders staged protests in the towns of Dhone, Kurnool, Adoni, Mantralayam, and Bandi Atmakur. A few also took out protest marches in the evening, but these activities remained largely nominal, with no significant disturbance to public order.
A traffic cop in Kurnool said there had been just one or two minor protests within the entire city limits on Saturday and Sunday, adding there was no significant disruption to traffic.