Naidu’s ‘Yudha Bheri’ heats up AP politics despite YSRCP’s road blocks

Ichchapuram: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu. (Photo: IANS)

Mohammed Shafeeq

Amaravati, Aug 6 (IANS) Telugu Desam Party (TDP) President N. Chandrababu Naidu’s ongoing visits to key irrigation projects in Andhra Pradesh to expose failures of Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government and the violent clashes between TDP and ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) at few places have heated up the state politics.

The alleged threats by some YSRCP leaders in Rayalaseema region to stop Naidu’s ‘Yudha Bheri’ and the strong reaction by TDP leaders have generated political heat.

The violence in Punganur town of Chittoor district after Naidu’s convoy was allegedly stopped by the police and the clashes between workers of the two parties in neighbouring Annamayya district on August 4 are likely to set off a chain of violent incidents in the run-up to the next year’s elections.

The violence broke out on the outskirts of Punganur after TDP cadres protested against the police action in stopping Naidu’s convoy. However, police claimed that the convoy changed its route and was entering the town without police permission.

About 40 people including 11 police personnel were injured in the violence. Supporters of both the parties indulged in stone pelting and arson. The YSRCP leaders had allegedly threatened to disrupt Naidu’s meeting in Punganur constituency, represented by state mines minister Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy, uncle of Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Moahn Reddy.

Naidu blamed the minister for the violence. The former chief minister warned the ruling party leaders that if they come with one stick, they will be confronted with several sticks.

The TDP chief came down heavily on Chittoor Superintendent of Police Rishanth Reddy for police inaction to control YSRCP men. The police officer, however, blamed Naidu for the violence saying he made certain remarks which instigated people.

Calling the violence ‘pre-planned’, the police have arrested 40 people in connection with the violence and are likely to make more arrests.

It was on August 1 that Naidu embarked on a 10-day tour covering 2,500 km to visit key irrigation projects across the state to expose what he calls the inefficiency and failure of the YSRCP government in completing them. The tour is titled ‘Yudha Bheri’ or battle.

“The people of Andhra Pradesh are deeply dissatisfied with the current regime’s handling of irrigation issues, leading to severe water scarcity in the state.

“Under Jagan Mohan Reddy’s leadership, irrigation has come to a halt, causing significant losses for farmers and industries. The state is parched, and the people are struggling for water. The lack of vision and experience in managing the state is evident in Jagan Mohan Reddy’s approach,” he said.

The former chief minister claimed that the interlinking of rivers by the previous government of TDP showed promising potential to resolve the water crisis. “The people deserve a leader who can make practical decisions for a water-secure future. TDP will pave the way for a prosperous and water-secure future for our state,” said Naidu.

Pointing out that Rs 68,000 crore was spent for irrigation projects in five years during the TDP regime, Chandarbabu said that Jagan has spent a meager amount of Rs 22,000 crore.

‘Yudha Bheri’ is the latest in a series of campaigns undertaken by Naidu to target Jagan Mohan Reddy’s government.

Looking to mount pressure on the government in the run-up to the elections scheduled next year, Naidu is coming up with an innovative campaign to take on YSRCP.

The TDP chief earlier launched a selfie challenge to Jagan. He has been posing for selfies with the projects taken up by the previous government headed by him. On August 3, he took a selfie in front of the car plant of Korean auto player KIA Motors in Anantapur district. “I brought KIA, you brought MAFIA,” wrote Naidu on social media posts addressed to Jagan.

In June, Naidu launched ‘Naalugella Narakam’ (Four-year hell) highlighting the problems faced by the state in various sectors during the YSRCP rule since 2019.

During the month-long campaign, the TDP leader highlighted increasing crime and violence against women, rising prices of essential commodities, lack of jobs, and the poor state of education and healthcare.

Late last year, Naidu had undertaken a campaign ‘Idem Karma Mana Rashtraniki’ (what is this fate befell on our state). During the 45-day-long state-wide campaign, he tried to highlight the wrongdoings of the Jagan government.

By reaching out to households across the state through a door-to-door campaign, the party highlighted the dire state of governance, issues faced by people, and the downward trajectory of the state’s growth curve under the YSRCP regime.

Naidu’s son and TDP general secretary Nara Lokesh is also continuing his ‘padyatra’ targeting the Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government . Last week, he completed 2,200 km under the padyatra titled ‘Yuvagalam’ (youth’s voice).

It was on January 27 that Lokesh had embarked on a 4,000 km-long state-wide padyatra from Kuppam constituency represented by his father Chandrababu Naidu.

It was announced that the walkathon will cover 120 Assembly constituencies over 400 days across the state.

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