HYDERABAD: Pro-Telangana activists Monday disrupted the government’s "Racchabanda" (open forum) programme in the region by preventing ministers, members of parliament and other public representatives of the ruling Congress party from participating in it.
The Andhra Pradesh government launched the public interactive programme Monday aiming to take the administration to the people’s doorsteps.
Demanding the tabling of the Telangana bill in parliament during the budget session, supporters disrupted the event in Hyderabad, Warangal, Karimnagar, Nizamabad and other places in the region.
Raising slogans of "Jai Telangana", the protestors squatted on the roads and prevented ministers and MPs from participating in the programme.
Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy inaugurated "Racchabanda" at Rajam in Srikakulam district of north coastal Andhra by responding to people’s grievances during an interaction.
The government will distribute ration cards, pensions, allot houses, and sanction loans and other benefits under various welfare schemes during the programme, which will continue till Feb 12. A total of Rs.2,500 crore has been set apart for the campaign.
The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), pro-Telangana leaders of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and other constituents of the Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) have called for a boycott of the programme.
They alleged that "Racchabanda" was aimed at weakening the Telangana movement by luring people with various benefits.
Police arrested dozens of TRS activists when they disrupted the programme attended by Minister for Tribal Welfare Basvaraj Saraiah and Warangal MP Rajaiah. The protestors demanded that the government should not conduct the programme till formation of a separate Telangana state.
The minister and the MP accused the TRS of depriving people of the benefits of the welfare schemes.
"I am also for a separate Telangana, but this programme is meant for people and hence it should not be disrupted," said Saraiah, whose convoy came under attack from TRS activists Sunday night at Kazipet in Warangal district.
Karimnagar MP Ponnam Prabhakar, however, boycotted the programme. The Congress MP and other public representatives left the venue in Karimnagar town after adopting a resolution that the people of the region want a separate state and were not interested in any scheme.
In Karimnagar district, minister Sridhar Babu had to face the wrath of pro-Telangana activists.
Nizamabad MP Madhu Yashki also stayed away, saying that the government was provoking Telangana supporters by conducting the programme.
Police arrested 30 protestors at Amberpet in Hyderabad when they tried to prevent local Congress leaders from attending "Racchabanda". The protestors also disrupted the programme attended by minister Shankar Rao at Secunderabad.(IANS)