Maharashtra parties want Naidu to withdraw protest

An all-party meeting held in Maharashtra`s Nanded district demanded that TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu withdraws his anti-dam agitation.

Nanded: An all-party meeting held in Maharashtra`s Nanded district Sunday afternoon demanded that Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief Chandrababu Naidu withdraws his anti-dam agitation and leave the state by the evening, Nanded MP Bhaskarrao Khatgaonkar said.

Adopting an aggressive stance vis-à-vis the TDP, the meeting held in Dharmabad town warned of a shutdown in Nanded Monday if Naidu failed to respect the sentiments of the people of Maharashtra, he said.

Terming the TDP agitation as "a political stunt", Khatgaonkar wanted to know why Naidu did not take up the issue when he was the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh.

He was speaking to mediapersons after the meeting, which was convened by Nanded legislator Omprakash Pokarna on behalf of the Babli Dam Action Committee.

On his part, Pokarna charged the TDP with attempting to "disturb peace" in Maharashtra for political gains.

He urged the Maharashtra government to take stringent action against Naidu and his supporters for entering the state to protest against the Babli Dam.

Naidu and 74 of his supporters, mostly sitting and former legislators and parliamentarians, were arrested Friday on charges of entering Maharashtra and violating prohibitory orders.

He accused the TDP of attempting to gain political mileage from the Babli Dam issue in view of the by-elections in Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh on July 27.

The all-party meet followed a bus yatra by Naidu and his colleagues here last Friday to inspect the Babli Dam near Dharmabad town and ascertain whether Maharashtra was drawing more than its share of water from it.

In view of the prohibitory orders clamped there, the district administration arrested Naidu and 74 of his supporters.

Since they refused to take bail, they are currently in judicial custody till Monday.

Dharmabad observed a spontaneous shutdown Saturday in protest against the TDP agitation, with the threat of another shutdown Monday looming over Nanded, which is the home district of Chief Minister Ashok Chavan.