ELURU: Tension prevailed in Kukunoor village on Thursday when people’s representatives from Khammam and West Godavari districts divided on regional lines and clashed at a review meeting organised by the West Godavari district administration. Timely intervention by officials helped prevent the situation from going out of control.
Kukunoor has been recently transferred from Palvoncha divison in Khammam district of Telangana to West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh following bifurcation.
For the first time after seven mandals of Khammam district in Telangana region were merged with Andhra Pradesh, a meeting was convened by the West Godavari district administration to build confidence among the public. Eluru MP Maganti Babu, Polavaram MLA M Srinivasa Rao and TDP activists along with the collector and the SP went to Kukunoor for the meeting.
However, unruly scenes were witnessed when Aswaraopet MLA Thati Venkateswarlu of the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) in Khammam district entered the meeting hall and raised objections over the review meeting. A verbal duel soon led to a scuffle between the supporters of Venkateswarlu and the Eluru MP who belongs to the TDP.
Tension prevailed in the region as the Andhra and Telangana politicians pitched for a battle.
Raising ‘Jai Telangana’ and anti-Polavaram project slogans, Venkateswarlu and his followers alleged that the meeting was being conducted in his constituency without even following the protocol. In retaliation, the Eluru MP and his followers raised ‘Jai TDP, Jai Andhra’ slogans and argued with the protestors dismissing their objections. They also shouted at the top of their voices that they wanted the Polavaram project, and asserted that Kukunoor was now a part of West Godavari district as per the order published in the Official Gazette.
Maganti Babu and Venkateswarlu entered into a heated argument at this juncture. A scuffle, subsequently, broke out between the MP’s supporters and the MLA’s followers, disrupting the proceedings for sometime.
Soon, the police intervened and brought the situation under control. Locals staged a sit-in on the road in support of their MLA who also joined the protest. They stopped the meeting for sometime by raising noisy slogans. When their action was resisted by those inside the meeting hall, Venkateswarlu and his followers went to the Kukunoor police station and staged a dharna, alleging that the Andhra MP and his followers attacked them. Khammam MP Srinivasa Reddy arrived in the village, expressing support to Venkateswarlu. They demanded action against Maganti Babu and his followers.
Later, addressing the meeting amid chaos and a tense atmosphere, West Godavari district collector K Bhaskar sought to allay the fears of the people living in the mandals likely to be submerged due to the Polavaram project. He said all welfare measures would be implemented for them in AP. He received petitions from locals on grievances and, wherever possible, tried to find on-the-spot solutions.