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TDP leaders court arrest at Secretariat

Hyderabad, Dec 24 : The seat of the state government functioning, the Secretariat, on Friday came under attack by Telugu Desam Party leaders who turned violent with the party Legislators and cadre almost blocking the entry points while disrupting the traffic as part of the ‘Chalo Assembly’ programme to press for their demands for a better package to the distressed farmers.

Following their agitation, the traffic came to a standstill on the main roads that linked the state Secretariat.

Even as the state government stood its grounds bluntly, refusing to concede to the demands of the agitating TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu, who also remained firm on continuing his hunger strike in the ICU of the Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences, the party Legislators courted arrest after they tried to intrude into the Secretariat. They were later removed to Gandhinagar police station.

TDP MLAs and other leaders led by Payyavula Keshav leading about 20 other party Legislators and activists, who tried to gain entry into the Secretariat were among those arrested. When they were prevented from entering, the TDP men picked up an argument with the police but in vain.

Party MLA Yerrabelly Dayakar Rao and MP Venugopal Reddy, who squatted at the entrance of the ‘C’ Block inside Secretariat were also arrested by the police.

The TDP leaders launched the trenchant attack against the Kiran Kumar Reddy government for ignoring the farmers’ problems despite the opposition leaders’ joint appeal to announce a revised package.

Terming the weakness of the government as helplessness the TDP leaders protested that the Chief Minister had no right to continue in office amidst raising the anti-government slogans.

If the government continued to adopt the same style of functioning they were prepared to go begging in favour of the farmers’ interests. With opposition resolved to take forward their moment, fearing collapse of the government systems the police well in advance locked the main gates which was resented by the agitating TDP leaders. They said it was a shame on the part of the Chief Minister and the Ministers to hide and continue their business.

The tall claims of the ruling Congress that they were the real saviours of the farmers came under heavy attack. In spite of capturing the peoples’ mandate the ruling Congress did not fulfil their obligations particularly in respect of the farmers, who incurred heavy losses due to heavy floods, the TDP leaders said. “The rulers had no heart to enhance the farmers’ package which was also endorsed by the opposition in chorus,” they added.

The government had second thoughts about increasing the aid even after the ageing TDP supremo took to hunger strike specifically demanding more assistance commensurate with the current cost of living, which had increased manifold since the TDP rule prior to 2004.

Some of the distressed farmers who were left with no other options took the extreme step which was one of the highlights at the dharna here. Another prominent exposure was that the government chose to remain a silent spectator even though the opposition jointly demanded a revision of the aid to the farmers.

Using the brutal force by the police who acted as mere pawns in the hands of the government to forcibly disallow the entry of the TDP legislators at the Secretariat and then their arrest drew much resentment.

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