Guntur: A fresh political controversy erupted on Wednesday when a group of people stormed into Jinnah Tower at Andhra's Guntur district on the occasion of 73rd Republic Day to unfurl the tricolour after which they were detained.
The BJP has been demanding to rename the tower after the name of former president Abdul Kalam, however, MLC Appi Reddy accused the BJP of instigating people by "raking communal issues" and asked the party why it did not rename the tower when it was in power during 1999 to 2004 and from 2014 to 2019.
"BJP is trying to instigate the people by raking communal issues. BJP over the past two weeks has been making contentious statements of razing down the monument," he said in a statement.
"While there is hue and cry over change of name of the tower and razing it down, the BJP leaders should not forget that they were in alliance with the TDP from 1999 to 2004 and again from 2014 to 2019, during which time they formed the government. The BJP leader P. Manikyala Rao held the endowment portfolio back then. Why didn't he change the name if BJP were so keen on it?" Reddy asked.
Earlier, a fence was raised around the tower and police security was beefed for the citizens' safety.
"In the pretext of the Republic Day the miscreants had stormed towards the Jinnah tower, with their intentions not known. Hence, with people's safety as the at most priority, they had to be detained," the MLC further said.
Minister in the YSRCP government, Vellampalli Srinivas Rao tweeted, "The parties in power who ruled the state between 2014-19, did not remember that there was a Jinnah Tower in Guntur. 75 years after independence, the BJP is now trying to create a controversy over the 100-year-old tower in Guntur, Could this get any worse?"
However, National Secretary, BJP, Sunil Deodhar hit out at Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy over the detention of the group and asked if Guntur of Andhra Pradesh is part of the Republic of India or not.
"Mr @ysjagan, entire Nation wants to Know from you whether Jinnah Circle in Guntur of Andhra Pradesh is part of Republic of India or not?" he tweeted.
"CM @ysjagan mind that we are not in Pakistan. Shame on AP Govt. Which prevented Hindu Vahini activist to unfurl National Flag on #RepublicDay , we will not leave the fight of renaming Jinnah Tower in #Guntur as Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Tower," he said in another tweet.