Tirupati: Leader of Opposition in Andhra Pradesh Assembly N Chandrababu Naidu staged a sit-in protest inside the arrival lounge of the Tirupati airport at Renigunta on Monday as police sought to detain him and prevent his entry into the temple town.
The Telugu Desam Party chief picked up an argument with the police officials and demanded to know why he was being prevented from going to Tirupati and Chittoor.
Naidu arrived at Tirupati airport from Hyderabad to take part in a protest in Tirupati against the high-handed actions of the local civic authorities.
Police, however, denied permission for the protest citing the model code of conduct for (urban local body) elections and also the prevalence of coronavirus.
On Sunday, the Tirupati Municipal Corporation officials allegedly ransacked a tea stall belonging to a TDP leader, whose wife was contesting the March 10 election.
It was alleged that the ruling YSR Congress wanted the TDP candidate to withdraw from the contest but, as she refused, the tea stall of her husband was damaged.
To protest this, the TDP planned to organise a protest under Naidu’s leadership.
Having denied permission for the protest, the Tirupati Urban police sought to detain the TDP president at the airport.
“I have been Chief Minister for 14 years and am now the Leader of Opposition. Don’t I have the right to protest? Why can’t I go and meet the district Collector and the SP, Naidu angrily questioned the police officials and sat on the airport lounge floor.
On the other hand, the Tirupati and Chittoor police placed important TDP leaders of the district under house arrest ahead of Naidu’s visit.
TDP politburo member Yanamala Ramakrishnudu strongly condemned the police acts and said it further exposed the draconian rule of Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy.
“Detention of the Opposition leader is nothing but trampling the civil liberties. Is there a rule of law in AP,” Ramakrishnudu angrily questioned in a statement.