On March 1st, 2021, Former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and Leader of Opposition, Chandrababu Naidu was detained by the police to stop his entry into the temple city. The TDP Chief staged a sit-in protest at the airport and demanded to know the reason behind the detainment.
Naidu was to visit Tirupati and Chittoor to join the protest against authoritarianism, brutality, and bullying of the local civic authorities. Workers and leaders of the ruling YCP have been accused of unleashing oppression and threats on the people and prospective candidates in local body elections. Former minister and TDP AP president K Atchannaidu asserted, “The YSRCP leaders had no right to create obstacles for the visits of such a senior leader. The common people were having doubts now whether they were brought under a jungle raj after the YSRCP came to power,”. TDP politburo member Yanamala Ramakrishnudu condemned the police acts and stated, “Detention of the Opposition leader is nothing but trampling the civil liberties. Is there a rule of law in AP,”.
The police cited the reason for restricting his entry as it would be a violation of COVID-19 guidelines. However, the current Chief Minister Jagan Reddy himself has held multiple rallies and meetings throughout the pandemic, while famously ignoring basic safety protocols such as wearing a mask.
Chandrababu Naidu took to Twitter and posted a video of the sit-in at the airport calling out the misrule of Jagan Reddy’s administration. “We will not be stopped. We will not be silenced. Your fear-driven, state-sponsored vendetta won’t stop me from reaching out to my people. Grow up, @ysjagan,” Chandrababu Naidu wrote.
In times when the conversation around democracy and democratic freedom is on the rise in India, questions must be asked of the Andhra Pradesh government. When senior leaders and former chief ministers are subject to such treatment, the plight of the common people becomes clearer.