Sanjay arrested after hours-long chase a day before his Praja Sangrama Yatra
By DECCAN CHRONICLE | Narender Pulloor and Puli Sharat Kumar
Police say permission was not granted for Sanjays public meeting in Bhainsa
HYDERABAD/ WARANGAL: It was a game of cat and mouse along the National Highway 63 on Sunday, as the police decided to arrest state BJP chief Bandi Sanjay Kumar a day before the fifth phase of his Praja Sangrama Yatra. The BJP leader repeatedly gave police the slip at multiple locations since Sunday afternoon, but was finally taken into custody from Korutla in Jagtial district on Sunday night.
The police said that permission was not granted for Sanjay’s public meeting in Bhainsa, a communally sensitive town in Nirmal district, which was meant to kickstart his padayatra. That is why Sanjay had to be taken into custody. Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was scheduled to attend the inaugural.
As news of the arrest spread, BJP workers raised slogans against the police and tried to get Sanjay released from the police’s clutches. The police parked their vehicles across the main carriageway of the National Highway 63 to halt the BJP followers’ vehicles.
Sources said that the police had been tracking Sanjay’s movements since Sunday morning, to arrest him.
As per the BJP leader’s plan, he was to proceed from Karimnagar to Nirmal around 3 pm on Sunday but left only around 6 pm after learning of the development.
The police deployed squads at multiple locations along the national highway from Jagtial to Nizamabad. The police initially tried to arrest Sanjay at Thitapally village on the outskirts of Jagtial district, but he managed to give them the slip.
Upon reaching Medipalli, Sanjay reportedly took shelter at the house of former sarpanch Bongoni Raja Goud. While the police waited for him to emerge, Sanjay evaded them and reached Venkatapur.
The police were prepared for such a contingency and had set up squads at Korutla and Metpally. As Sanjay’s vehicle reached Venkatpur in Korutla, the police surrounded his car and took him into custody as tempers flared.
Sanjay questioned how the police could deny permission for his padayatra at the last minute.
“We informed the police over the visit of Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis to Bhainsa and the police also made security arrangements. Why did the police make a U-turn? How will Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao protect the state, as he is unable to control Bhainsa,” he asked.
He slammed the TRS over its “dictatorship” and said that he will get permission from the court for the public meeting in Bhainsa.
As per the schedule, Sanjay was to reach Nirmal on Sunday night and perform puja at the Adelli Pochamma temple in Sarangpur early Monday, following which he was to address a public meeting at the Pardi crossroads in Bhainsa, with Fadnavis being he chief guest at the event.
In anticipation of the BJP yatra, the police enforced Section 30 of the Police Act in the Nirmal district.
Party sources said that Sanjay would travel 6.3 kilometres on the first day and stay at Gundagam village in Mudhole constituency.
Earlier in the day, BJP state spokesperson T. Veerender Goud, who is also the co-convener of the yatra, told Deccan Chronicle that necessary arrangements are in place for the yatra. “We are expecting around 80,000 people to attend the public meeting. The fifth phase of the yatra will pass through eight Assembly and three Parliamentary constituencies,” he said.