Like in all his other programmes the venue, the stretch of NH-9 between the Potti Sriramulu statue and Ashoka Pillar, was amazingly well decorated with tri-colour and flexies, taking into consideration the very short time available.

It was a Lagadapati show all the way. Vijayawada MP Lagadapati Rajagopal was among the first to arrive at the Potti Sriramulu statue near Prakasam Barrage to oversee the arrangements.

Like in all his other programmes the venue, the stretch of NH-9 between the Potti Sriramulu statue and Ashoka Pillar, was amazingly well decorated with tri-colour and flexies, taking into consideration the very short time available.

Though the meeting was referred to as an awareness meeting on Vijayawada City development, the focus of the few speakers, mostly elected representatives, and Mr. Rajagopal was the Mahadharna by TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu.

“I will meet Mr. Chandrababu Naidu before sunset and listen to him and then I will explain to him the situation,” he repeated to the activists. Several television channels kept interviewing him on the sidelines of the show.

A temporary stage erected facing the Ashoka Pillar seemed overcrowded and insufficient to hold the leaders whose attendance seemed better than that of the activists. City Congress president Pyla Sominaidu, district president Naraharisetti Srihari, MLAs Jogi Ramesh, Malladi Vishnu and Vellampalli Srinivas were fortunate to be given a chance to speak.

The activists who were a few hundreds in number each had either a Congress flag or an expensive flexy placard with slogans against Mr. Naidu. “Is it wrong to develop the city with JNNURM funds?” said the question on the placard which was posed directly to Mr. Chandrababu Naidu. “What did you do to develop the city in the nine years you were Chief Minister, Mr. Naidu?” read another placard.

The city police who have had a bad experience with Mr. Rajagopal were extra cautious with him. Foiling all his attempts and followers to break the barricade and whisked away Mr. Naidu to Kummaripalem centre through the Tunnel. The strategic use of former woman mayors and deputy mayors and a motorcade led by Pedana MLA Jogi Ramesh did not have the slightest impact on the police.

The cops did not even relent on Mr. Rajagopal’s request for allowing open top jeep. The MP and his men waited patiently until Mr. Naidu left the venue of the dharna and then asked the police to allow them to go only in vain.

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