Mahabubnagar: Two Cabinet ministers of the Kiran Kumar Reddy government, hailing from Mahbubnagar district, were taken into custody by the police on Saturday morning as they headed for direct confrontation in Gadwal Assembly constituency.
The police were constrained to arrest the Minister for Endowments, Mr Jupally Krishna Rao, who tendered resignation over Telangana issue in March, attempted to go on padayatra in the Gadwal Assembly constituency represented by the Minister for Information and Public Relations, Ms D K Aruna. The police also took Ms Aruna also into custody as she had threatened to physically stop the padayatra of her political rival.
Even as Mr Krishna Rao was preparing to leave for Gadwal, as part of his padayatra for exerting pressure on the Centre to carve out separate Telangana State, Ms Aruna, accompanied by her followers, tried to stop her Cabinet colleague from stepping into her constituency. Anticipating trouble, the police took the minister into custody at Thummalapally village under Ghattu mandal and shifted to the Dharur police station. However, she was released on personal bail. With this, the Youth Congress activists enforced bandh in Gadwal.
Speaking to mediapersons later, Ms Aruna slammed Mr Krishna Rao for trying to get people’s sympathy through his padayatra. She has alleged that the Telangana Rashtra Samithi and Telugu Desam Party leaders were behind her cabinet colleague. Alleging that Mr Krishna Rao was making cheap comments that she had married away her children with Seemandhra persons, Ms Aruna said she would have extended her cooperation to Mr Krishna Rao wholeheartedly for his padayatra had he informed her of his decision. She also accused Mr Jupally of continuing his agitation unilaterally without bothering to take others into confidence.
Later, the police arrested Mr Krishna Rao at Aija to prevent a clash between the two groups of the ruling party. There was high drama as Mr Krishna Rao locked himself in his vehicle and threatened to commit suicide by aiming a knife at his throat if the police tried to take him into custody. His supporters had heated arguments with the police officials, who convinced the minister to come out and surrender. When the police took Mr Jupally into custody, his followers resorted to vandalism and gave a call for bandh in Aija mandal. They also set fire to RTC buses and staged a dharna at Aija crossroads bringing the movement of vehicular traffic to a grinding halt for some time. The shops and business establishments downed the shutters.
Declaring that his padayatra for Telangana would continue at any cost, Mr Krishna Rao described his arrest as murder of democracy. He also declared that he was prepared to lay down his life for the sake of separate Telangana State and the arrests would not deter him. Stating that he has malice with none, he urged the Chief Minister, Mr Kiran Kumar Reddy, to intervene and sort out the issue. (NSS)