BJP State president Bandi Sanjay Kumar was arrested at Thatipalli in Jagtial district on Sunday evening while on his way to Nirmal for the launch of the fifth phase of his Praja Sangrama Yatra from Bhainsa.
Mr. Sanjay had scheduled his night halt at Nirmal to offer prayers at the Adelli Pochamma temple in the town the next morning before proceeding to Bhainsa for his padayatra with a public meeting to be addressed by Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. However, Nirmal police denied permission to both the yatra and the public meeting as Bhainsa is a communally-sensitive town.
The yatra was slated to cover three Lok Sabha and eight Assembly constituencies in five districts totalling about 220 km over a span of 20 days. It was to end on December 17 in Karimnagar.
As per schedule, for the first three days, the yatra was to cover Mudhole constituency and enter Nirmal constituency on December 1. On December 6 and 7, it would have gone through Khanapur constituency, followed by Korutla on December 8 and 9, Jagtial on December 11 and 12, and Choppadandi on December 13 before entering Karimnagar constituency on December 16. It was supposed to conclude the next day in the town with a public meeting at SRR College.
However, after Mr. Sanjay set off for Nirmal from Karimnagar in his car, the police there said they could not provide security for the programme but BJP leaders insisted on going ahead with it. They argued with police that details of the programme had already been communicated to the Superintendent of Police and therefore, they had completed all arrangements for the meeting as well as the padayatra.
Stating that the police were deliberately putting up obstacles, the BJP leaders and workers squatted on the road opposite the SP’s office and raised slogans. They were later arrested.
During his confrontation with police at Thatipalli, Mr. Sanjay vehemently argued that permission for the programme had already been obtained and the BJP had prepared the route map. Cancellation of permission at the last minute was unjustified, he said, expressing his resolve to go ahead with the padayatra with court permission.