VISAKHAPATNAM:It is a catch-22 situation for the Telugu Desam Party leaders and active workers. As there is no clarity from the government on the most controversial bauxite mining issue despite stringent warnings from the Maoists, the TDP cadre are migrating to various urban places in the district. Though the police are pacifying them, the TDP followers are packing their bags and moving to Narsipatnam, Anakapalle and Visakhapatnam.
Sensing that Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu would order mining of bauxite ore in Visakhapatnam agency areas, the Maoists kidnapped three TDP leaders - V Balayya, M Balayya and M Mahesh - on October 5. The Maoists also warned all the TDP cadres not to support the TDP government and snap their connection with the party. As the police failed to trace the three TDP leaders even after eight days, the party cadre in the agency expressed their anguish.
The tribals are not happy with Chandrababu Naidu’s statement. The CM said that his government had not yet taken any decision on the bauxite mining since returning to power, and asked how the Maoists can set deadlines when the issue has not even been borached anywhere. However, his response did not curry favour as he did not appeal to the Maoists to release his party leaders. Not only TDP supporters, but also all the tribals in the Visakhapatnam agency have expressed their ire against the TDP government.
“Instead of making a statement that the TDP government would never take up bauxite mining in the agency, the Chief Minister gave too smart a statement. What is the meaning of his statement? He should make it clear that the TD government won’t permit bauxite mining,” a tribal activist said.
Meanwhile, with the police failing to trace the kidnapped TDP leaders, tension prevailed in the agency. Already the Maoists issued a warning to some of the TDP leaders and active workers to resign from the party and asked them to participate in the anti-bauxite mining agitation to prove their credentials.
“Soon after the kidnap, they cut off all interactions with the tribals. They are keeping all their moves and strategies secret and even their aides and militia members are in the dark. The situation has become very tense,” said a senior police officer engaged in anti-Maoist operations.
Reacting to the Chief Minister’s statement, senior CPI leader JV Satyanarayana Murthy demanded a clear stand of the government on the bauxite mining. The TDP, when in opposition, announced that it opposed the bauxite mining. The TDP government should make it clear that if it was for or against bauxite mining, said Murthy.
“How can we believe in such smart statements. The government is not permitting any meeting against bauxite mining in the agency area. Very recently, the police arrested several people who attended a meeting at Darakonda on bauxite meeting. We convened the meeting and a police officer cut the mike when the leaders started talking against mining. I am asking the government to announce its stand unambiguously,” Satyanarayana Murthy said.
YSR Congress Party district president Gudivada Amarnath said that the CM was playing with the lives of tribals. While participating in the World Adivasi Day celebrations last year near the airport, Chandrababu Naidu said that the bauxite reserves would be mined with the consent of the tribals. It means, the TDP government was preparing the ground for bauxite mining. The latest statement of the Chief Minister is a farce, Amarnath said.
On the kidnap of the TDP leaders, Visakhapatnam SP Koya Praveen said that the police got information that the Maoists called up some representatives of people’s organisations for discussions and they are on the way to meet them.