Braving violent protests by Telangana separatists, Telugu Desam Party president N Chandrababu Naidu today began his 'Rythu Poru Baata' (struggle or farmers) in Lakshmakkapalli in Warangal district of Andhra Pradesh.
During the 120-km route from Hyderabad, the separatist elements led by Telangana Rashtra Samiti made several attempts to block Chandrababu Naidus cavalcade but he went ahead with his tour programme even as thousands of TDP workers welcomed him at every place.
In fact, fearing a breakdown in law and order, Warangal district Superintendent of Police Rajesh Kumar suggested that Chandrababu put off his tour but the latter did not relent.
"I am fighting for the cause of farmers and shall not be cowed down by protests," Naidu asserted and went ahead with his scheduled programme.
Hundreds of police personnel were lined up along the route to prevent trouble but at a few places like Tarnaka in Hyderabad city, Janagaon and Hanmakonda the Telangana miscreants went berserk.
Police fired teargas shells to quell the miscreants who hurled stones at Chandrababu's convoy at Tarnaka.
At Bhuvanagiri in Nalgonda district, TRS workers tried to block the former Chief Minister's motorcade but were chased away by police. In Warangal, Janagaon and Mahbubabad, the statehood-seekers staged protests outside State Road Transport Corporation depots and prevented buses from coming out. A bandh was also observed in Warangal and other parts of the district, reports reaching here said.
Hundreds of protestors were taken into custody in connection with the incidents, a senior police officer told PTI over phone from Warangal.
Amidst protests, Chandrababu reached Lakshmakkapalli to a tumultuous welcome by TDP rank and file. MLAs Errabilli Dayakar Rao, Seetakka, Revuri Prakash Reddy and senior leader Kadiyam Srihari welcomed Chandrababu.
The TDP chief began his 11-km long padayatra (foot march) from Lakshmakkapalli and interacted with farmers to know the problems being faced by them.
He told them that he was not against Telangana and made his partys stand very clear many a time.
"But still these people are trying to prevent me from coming to you. I have come here to know your problems and fight for solution," Chandrababu said.
He also inspected agriculture fields in the village where crops were affected because of drought.