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Atchannaidu’s arrest shows how Vendetta politics is still in vogue in AP

Telugu Desam Party (TDP) Andhra Pradesh chief Kinjarapu Atchannaidu was arrested in connection with a gram panchayat election-related case in which he was facing a charge of alleged criminal intimidation. However, going by the phone conversation that has been doing rounds in the media, it is a clear case of a discussion and doesn’t indicate “intimidation” in any way. 
 
However, Atchannaidu was listed as an accused, along with 21 others, in the case in Nimmada village in Srikakulam district, police sources said. Already, 11 other TDP workers have been arrested in the case, police said. 
 
The allegation against the accused was that they threatened the ruling YSR Congress candidate K. Appanna (a relative of Atchannaidu) against filing his nomination for the sarpanch post in Nimmada. An alleged telephonic conversation was also leaked.
 
Atchannaidu and Appanna are closely related and some of the main accused in the case too are kinfolks. The sarpanch post was never contested in previous polls over the last three decades as Nimmada is the native village of Atchannaidu and his late brother and former Union Minister K. Yerrannaidu. It was a TDP stronghold owing to the Kinjarapu family.
 
In the ongoing elections to the gram panchayats, the YSRC sought to put up its candidate for the village sarpanch post and that caused a scuffle two days ago, with both sides levelling allegations at each other of violent attacks. The nomination process for the first phase election, due on 9 February, ended on 31 January.
 
Commenting on this incident, TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu condemned Atchannaidu’s arrest and called it the height of (Chief Minister’s) vendetta politics. The YSRCP leaders created a tense atmosphere in the village (Nimmada) that has remained peaceful for decades, Chandrababu Naidu said in a release.
 
Going by the incident, it is clear that 1) How the current Jagan-led government is focussed only on vendetta politics while it is also causing law and order issues even in peaceful districts like Srikakulam. 2) The AP Police is no more an unbiased arm protecting law and order but that of YSRCP and its’ party’s interests. 
 
It remains to be seen how low YSRCP will stoop ahead of the Panchayat election to put its Opposition in chaos every time it feels insecure or threatened by an otherwise negligible number of seats that TDP won while YSRCP still has the majority. 

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