TDP peace rally despite rain

GUNTUR, JULY 12. The Guntur district unit of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and more so, the Minister for Technical Education, Mr. Alapati Rajendra Prasad, has every reason to bask in the success of the ``peace rally'' organised in Guntur on Wednesday, in spite of incessant downpour.

Though the TDP-sponsored programme was christened ``peace rally,'' surely it is a rendezvous organised against the Congress(I), particularly to counter the rally conducted by the latter against the hike in power tariff in Vijayawada recently.

The rally could not be conducted the way it was proposed to be, what with the crowds reaching only after the head of the procession began its journey. The anti-climax was that the Minister for Technical Education, who extensively toured all the Assembly constituencies in the district for mobilising crowds, could not join the galaxy of TDP leaders who led the procession. Though the Police Department claimed that it made elaborate arrangements for diverting traffic to avoid inconvenience to the public, there was no sign of any regulation.

It was ostensible that the peace rally was intended to train the guns at the Congress(I), what with banners bearing anti-Congress slogans. All the speakers at the public meeting went hammer and tongs against the Congress(I) and projected the TDP as the ``saviour of social peace and communal amity''.The bomb blast in Guntur mosque and the subsequent vandalism unleashed on the RTC bus station was hardly a topic of the speeches.

The spectre of protest by Majlis-e-Ulema and their boycott call, which haunted Mr. Lal Jan Basha and Mr. Ziauddin, for three days, had its impact. Most Muslims in the Anandapeta and Maya Bazaar areas closed down shops and sported black badges.