“I am not against Telangana,’’ Telugu Desam chief N Chandrababu Naidu said as he walked into the tiny village of Rajoli as part of his ‘Mee Kosam Vastunna’ padayatra on Monday while police foiled a bid by Telangana activists to stop him from entering the region.
As Chandrababu Naidu walked into Rajoli along with his son, Lokesh, thousands of supporters and Telangana TDP leaders greeted him.
As he crossed the Sunkesula dam into Telangana amid unprecedented security around 4 pm, Telugu Mahila leaders welcomed him with the traditional ‘Batukammas’ and cheers.
Several hundred Telangana activists and TJAC leaders, who gave a call of ‘Chalo Rajoli’ to protest Naidu’s yatra in Telangana, were taken into preventive custody and were not allowed to enter Rajoli. TJAC chairman M Kodandaram and others had been taken into preventive custody at Shanti Nagar when they were proceeding towards Rajoli a few hours before Naidu reached there.
The TJAC leaders staged a sit-in on the road and entered into a heated argument with the police. “We have every right to protest and we will protest Naidu touring the region,’’ Kodandaram said.
As the police were shifting the leaders to police station, Telangana activists intercepted the police vehicles at Kothakota and staged a dharna for more than an hour. They were later dispersed and the TJAC leaders taken to the Kothakota police station before being let off.
Across the district police took TJAC leaders and T activists into preventive custody. Mahbubnagar TJAC president Rajender Reddy and others were arrested at Mahbubnagar. “We wanted to meet Naidu and seek his stand on separate Telangana. If we get a positive reply, we will allow him to tour the region, otherwise we won’t,’’ a TJAC leader said.
Telangana Mala Mahanadu leaders were also taken into preventive custody at Shanti Nagar.
Even as the protests and arrests were going on in the district, Chandrababu Naidu reached the Sunkesula dam accompanied by thousands of supporters. Instead of taking the road over the dam, he walked over the sluice gates and took a look at the condition of the dam.
Speaking at Rajoli, Naidu said that he was not against Telangana. “We have asked for an all-party meeting over the issue. We will announce our stance at the meeting,’’ the TDP leader said. “The Congress, TRS and YSRCP are trying to create troubles for the TDP. They are playing politics over the issue. People should understand this and your (people) support will give us courage to go ahead,’’ he said and wondered why the TJAC was not exerting pressure on the ruling party but targeting the TDP.
Claiming that it was former chief minister the late NT Rama Rao and he who developed the region, Naidu said the the Congress government failed to construct houses for hundreds of the 2009 Rajoli flood victims.