Telugu Desam Party president N. Chandrababu Naidu criticised the Centre for what he called as "vindictive measures" against social activist Anna Hazare who is championing the struggle against corruption.

Mr. Naidu, along with his party leaders and activists, staged a dharna in front of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in Secunderabad on Wednesday. He courted arrest in protest against the detention of Mr. Hazare and called upon the party cadre and people to stage jail bharo protesting against the Centre’s action.

Separately, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) staged a protest by burning an effigy at RTC cross Roads while the CPI also organised demonstrations. Traffic was thrown out of gear in several parts of the city following the demonstrations.

Mr. Naidu, while addressing participants in the dharna, wanted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to apologise to the people for the actions of his Government in detaining Mr. Hazare. He should, in fact, lead the country in the fight against corruption and not give an impression that "he is supporting the corrupt elements".

The Telugu Desam president said a majority of the problems would be solved if an effective legislation is enacted against corruption. The Lokayukta in Karnataka set a benchmark in registering cases against the Chief Minister and efforts should be made to bring the Prime Minister’s Office under the purview of the Lokpal.

"After the freedom struggle, another struggle is needed, this time against corruption to achieve economic independence," he said, exhorting people and NGOs and youth to join the movement.