Hyderabad: Tension prevailed near the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Secunderabad on Tuesday evening as BJP was determined to go ahead with a candle-light rally under the leadership of the party’s national President J.P. Nadda to protest against the arrest of the party’s Telangana unit chief and MP Bandi Sanjay despite police refusing permission for the same.
Large number of BJP workers gathered near the statue while policemen were deployed to foil any rally. The police diverted vehicular traffic in the busy area, causing inconvenience to motorists.
Soon after Nadda landed at the Hyderabad Airport, a police official briefed him about the ban on rallies, meetings and public congregations in view of the prevailing Covid-19 situation. The BJP chief told reporters that he assured the official that they will abide by all Covid rules.
“I told him that I will be going to the Mahatma Gandhi statue to offer floral tributes. It is your responsibility to ensure that I abide by Covid norms,” Nadda said, adding that democratic rights can’t be taken away in the name of Covid curbs.
The saffron party has planned to organise the candle-light rally from the Mahatma Gandhi statue, Ranigunj, to Paradise X Roads in Secunderabad. Several BJP leaders, including Union Minister for Tourism and Culture, G. Kishan Reddy, are to participate in the rally.
Citing the orders banning public meetings and rallies in view of the Covid-19 situation, the city police refused to give permission.
Sanjay was arrested in Karimnagar town on Sunday night when he was staging a night-long protest demanding the government to amend orders relating to transfer of government employees and teachers. The Karimnagar MP was booked for violating the Disaster Management Act and for reportedly attacking police personnel. A magistrate on Monday sent him and four others to judicial custody for 14 days.
The BJP has called for state-wide protests for 14 days against the arrest, alleging that the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) is using undemocratic means to suppress peaceful protests.