He raised many an eyebrow by lashing himself with a whip on the floor of the Parliament. Many heckled it as an act that ill-behoved a Parliamentarian and some supported it as an outcome of genuine anguish when pushed to the corner.
Naramalli Sivaprasad, Member of Parliament (Chittoor), defines it as an artist’s way of expressing dissent. Having applied grease for stage performances in his heydays, the doctor-turned-actor made it big in Tollywood too. Admittedly, he drew inspiration from ‘Veerajaati Pothuraju’ community that ekes out a living by publicly lashing the whip to self-inflict injuries. “As sentiment has high value, people take to snake-charming, puppetry, tightrope-walking and whip-lashing to attract eyeballs. I borrowed the idea to draw the attention of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, as only she can intervene at this stage and do justice to Seemandhra,” he averred in a chat with The Hindu on Monday. “Whatever is the method adopted, the expression of the idea is important,” he said, recalling a similar enactment against the power hike early this year at Chittoor.
The act was certainly not spontaneous, as he carried the whip in his pocket even while keeping his party colleagues in the dark. “I sensed trouble when hints of using the suspension weapon were dropped and hence resorted to the extreme step before leaving,” he narrated. With no intention to hurt his colleagues, he had pushed the fellow MPs away to a safe distance.
Prior to that, he came in the guise of Lord Krishna, sporting a crown, peacock feather and flute to represent the case to Ms. Gandhi. The famed “Chelliyo Chellako” verse rendered (in Telugu mythology) by Sri Krishna as a Pandava envoy in the Kaurava court was suitably adapted to suit the Telangana issue. Dr. Sivaprasad also prepared a 12-minute documentary on the ongoing Seemandhra agitation. “It is my job to take to the notice of Delhi the plea of the one crore people who have hit the streets,” he signed off before rushing to participate in an agitation in Chittoor.