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Row over installation of Rajiv Gandhi statue

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NOVEL PROTEST: Telugu Desam leaders cleansing the statue of Konda Venkatappaiah with milk in Guntur on Monday.
NOVEL PROTEST: Telugu Desam leaders cleansing the statue of Konda Venkatappaiah with milk in Guntur on Monday.

Staff Reporter

Telugu Desam Party leaders threaten agitation on the issue

GUNTUR: The location of a yet-to-be-installed statue of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in the city is snowballing into a controversy with corporators belonging to the Telugu Desam Party opposing it tooth and nail and threatening to launch an agitation.

The traffic island near the Hindu College initially had the statue of freedom fighter Konda Venkatappaiah. A team from Delhi, which had come to the city to study traffic problems in 1998, suggested the shifting of the statue to ease the flow of traffic.

The municipal authorities shifted the statue close to the Hindu College boundary wall. Later in 2003, a section of politicians wanted the statue of Potti Sreeramulu installed at the same traffic island. The matter was referred to the Traffic Advisory Committee, which felt that having a statue at that place would affect traffic flow and suggested a place close to the petrol pump, where it was finally installed.

The GMC authorities seem to have forgotten the recommendations of the committee and approved the proposal to erect a statue of Rajiv Gandhi at the same place.

Standoff

TDP corporators, led by their floor leader Yaganti Durga Rao, tried to give a representation to District Collector G. Jayalakshmi at her camp office on Monday.

However, Ms. Jalayakshmi refused to meet the 15-member corporators' team at her camp office and asked them to meet her at her office.

Both sides stuck to their stand and the corporators staged a dharna opposite the main gate of the Collector's camp office shouting slogans.

Party city unit president Chukka Yesurathnam and former Minister Alapati Rajendraprasad arrived at the scene and tried to present a memorandum.

Ms. Jayalakshmi took objection to the corporators barging into her bungalow even when they were aware that she would be present at her office till 5 p.m. to receive petitions.

"What were you doing when your Municipal Commissioner gave approval to the proposal? You have come in and want me to take action at this stage," she asked the corporators. Later she accepted the petition at her office.

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