The Rachabanda programme organised in two municipal divisions under Vijayawada Central constituency on Monday witnessed strong protests by CPI (M) activists, which took a violent turn in the meeting held in the 55th division in the evening.
CPI (M) State committee member Ch. Babu Rao, who represented the 55th division in the last general body of the VMC, and a few other party activists were lifted away by the police and allegedly manhandled in a bid to prevent them from questioning the officials.
Mr. Babu Rao, who tried to raise a few local issues, was allegedly stopped from speaking and his mike was snatched by local MLA Malladi Vishnu. Even as Mr. Babu Rao continued speaking, the police took him away from the dais. Resisting this, Mr. Babu Rao and others squatted in front of the dais in protest, and the police quickly swooped down to drag them away by force. Those who were lifted included a few women activists of the CPI (M) as well. Srinivas, a local activist of the party, sustained an injury on his face in the melee.
In the programme held in 54th division in the morning, Minister for Transport Botcha Satyanarayana said that but for the neglect of the previous governments the people would not have been facing problem with housing now. The Congress government was working towards providing houses for all, he assured.
It was the responsibility of all political parties to highlight the problems of the people, but wrong on their part to try and disturb a programme where benefits were being distributed to several others, the Minister said, referring to protests by CPI (M) activists.
Mr. Satyanarayana said he was thoroughly disturbed by the attempts by the CPI (M) activists to disrupt Rachabanda demanding that they be provided with houses.
Armed with enlarged photocopies of “housing enumeration slips”, the activists tried to storm the space in front of the dais and raise slogans. The police moved in quickly and whisked them away.
The Minister wondered why pensions were not being given to all those found eligible in the categories of physically challenged, old age and widows. The Government gave very clear instructions that there should be no pendency after Rachabanda. He urged the officials to clear the pending applications by the month-end.