Naidu held for blocking traffic

The Telugu Desam president, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu and other Opposition leaders were arrested by police when they staged a dharna on the busy Begumpet road. It was their way of protesting against Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh’s failure to give them an audience on Tuesday.

Mr Naidu, Mr M. Narasimhulu, Mr Ramakrishna (CPI) and other Telugu Desam and Opposition leaders were taken to Amberpet police station and later released.

Dr Manmohan Singh was in the city to attend some engagements. The Opposition leaders wanted to meet him and submit a memorandum on the problems of farmers, such as poor prices for farm produce and suicides by poor farmers unable to pay back their loans to microfinance institutions.

“We sent the request to the PMO, but there was no reply. Can’t the PM, who has come by a special flight from New Delhi, spare an hour with the Opposition and hear the problems of the people? It is atrocious and highly undemocratic,” Mr Naidu fumed. He also blamed Chief Minister Mr Rosaiah for not fixing an appointment on behalf of the Opposition.

Mr Naidu’s next target was Congress MP, Mr Rahul Gandhi. He had promoted microfinance but is silent on the suicides by poor farmers who were being harassed by microfinance companies to pay back their loans, Mr Naidu said. He demanded that the government put a cap on interest rates charged by microfinance companies. "If needed I will tour the entire State and mobilise people to raise their voice against the government on this issue,” he added.

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