TDP head and former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu was today detained by the Chittoor district police at Renigunta's Tirupati Airport.
He was reportedly obstructed from visiting the temple town for a tour. Attempts were made to divert him to Hyderabad to prevent him from making the trip - the police even reserved tickets for Naidu for a flight scheduled to depart from the airport at 3:10 pm. Further, reports say that Naidu's phone, and those of his PA and medical officers were confiscated.
However, the former CM did not seem at all inclined to adhere to the instructions of the law enforcement officials, and the two sides got into a heated altercation on the matter. It all culminated in him sitting on the floor of the Renigunta airport lounge to protest the detainment, and in his refusal to each lunch, or drink any water.
The leader's supporters and fellow party members condemned the attitude of the police, and claimed that he had obtained permission from the State Election Commission to tour the district. They launched demonstrations across the state to protest the "arbitrary" police detainment.
Tensions outside the airport were also soaring, and the police was forced to remove TDP workers who had come to meet Naidu from the premises to control the situation. Some workers and supporters were taken into custody.
Naidu himself also lashed out at the YSR Congress Party regime and Chief Minister Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, claiming that the incident was a manifestation of the regime's "fear-driven, state-sponsored vendetta" against the TDP, and asserted that such "ploys" would not be enough to keep him or his party from reaching out to the people of the state. He demanded an explanation from the police.
On the other hand, Jagan’s advisor Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy accused the former CM of stirring up a controversy for no reason, and asked the latter whether he did not know that the election Code of Conduct was in effect in the state.
Reddy also claimed that the YSRCP did not need to "intimidate" the TDP to win any elections as it would win the same on the strength of its welfare programs.
Airports seem to have become the site for much political drama among the leaders of Andhra Pradesh. In the run-up to the 2019 election, a murder attempt on Jagan at Visakhapatnam Airport made a huge splash all over the nation, while Naidu's detainment at the same airport some time later also made it to the headlines.
Most recently, Jagan also addressed a Joint Action Committee
of 14 trade unions at the lounge of the Vizag airport on his government's stand on the privatisation of the city's historic steel plant.