Chandra Babu’s dharna at Assembly

Telugu Desam party chief N Chandrababu Naidu on Monday staged a sit-in on the road in front of the Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly building to protest the arrest of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) legislators and farmers’ leaders.

Angry over the attitude of police, Naidu told reporters that he would not end his protest unless all the arrested legislators and leaders were freed.

Earlier, TDP leaders claimed that Naidu had a narrow escape when a police vehicle carrying the arrested legislators almost ran over him.

The former chief minister was trying to stop the vehicle but the driver did not apply the brakes and Naidu’s security guards pulled him back in the nick of time.

"Is this the way you treat a former chief minister? Is it democracy or what?" an angry Naidu asked police officers when they tried to persuade him to end his protest.

It all started when a group of leaders of some farmers’ organisations reached the assembly building to submit a memorandum to Chief Minister Nallari Kiran Kumar Reddy, demanding relief for farmers whose crops were damaged in recent heavy rains.

When security personnel did not allow them inside, they sat on the road to lodge their protest.

Meanwhile, legislators of the TDP, the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) came out of the assembly and joined the protest.

Police then bodily lifted the legislators and farmers’ leaders and took them to a waiting vehicle.

On hearing about the arrests, Naidu too came out of the assembly and tried to stop the police vehicle.

The TDP chief alleged that the government was not only running away from a debate on the farmers’ issues in the assembly but was also adopting "high-handed" attitude towards opposition legislators and farmers.(IANS)

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