The non-bailable arrest warrant issued by a court in Maharashtra against Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and 15 others has raised a minor political storm in the two Telugu States.
The timing of the notice is being interpreted politically by different parties — ranging from a BJP-TRS hand to undermine the prospects of the TDP in the Telangana Assembly election to allegations of a drama by Naidu himself to gain some mileage.
The issue pertains to an agitation in 2010 led by Naidu, who was then the Opposition leader in AP, against the Babli project across the Godavari. The agitators had argued that the project would affect the people residing downstream.
The police have now been directed to arrest all the accused and produce them in the court of the First Class Judicial Magistrate of Dharmabad, in Nanded district, on or before September 21.
Naidu said the protest was meant to highlight the injustice caused to the people of the State if the Babli project was implemented. “We were arrested at the border and flown back to Hyderabad,” he recalled.
Meanwhile, TDP leaders questioned the timing of the order, considering the trial has been pending since 2010.. Telangana TDP leaders held an emergency meeting to discuss the issue, while some of them led protests in front of courts in the State.
TDP leader L Ramana claimed a ‘conspiracy’ behind the warrant. “It will be dealt with appropriately both on the legal and political fronts,” he added. The leaders alleged the hand of the BJP-TRS.
The TRS launched a counter-attack, saying it was a ‘drama’ by the TDP-Congress to recover ground in Telangana. TRS leader K Prabhakar and Agriculture Minister Pocharam Srinivas Reddy said it was the TRS which had taken up the agitation on the Babli project in the interest of the people of Telangana.
BJP State president K Laxminarayana denied the role of his party and attacked the Congress-TDP, urging people to see through their intentions.