Visakhapatnam: Clashes broke out in several parts of Andhra Pradesh after BJP workers stormed collectorates and other revenue offices demanding permission to set up Ganesh pandals at public places.
Stepping up pressure, BJP and its allied organizations staged rallies and dharnas across the state. Protests were severe in Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Machilipatnam, Kurnool, Kadapa, and Anantapur where the party workers clashed with the police. Party workers stormed the collectorates and other revenue offices at several places.
Several leaders were taken into custody. They were later released on bail. BJP president Somu Veerraju was taken into custody on Sunday. He was later released in Kurnool.
Senior BJP leader and MLC PVN Madhav warned of intensifying agitation if the government did not allow the public celebrations.
Madhav said the YSRC government led by the chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has been partisan as far as Hindu festivals are concerned. "Is Covid-19 a threat to Hindu festivals only?" he asked.
Tension prevailed at Anantapur where a huge pandal was being prepared for the Ganesh puja. Around 70 skilled workers from Kolkata were hired for erecting the giant pandal. All the arrangements for the light and sound show came to a halt when the government announced restrictions. This was the biggest Ganesh pandal in the State, organizers said.
In Nellore, BJP leaders and Ganesh Utsav Samithi organized a joint rally. The members later decided to put up Ganesh idols at all streets corners in view of Covid restrictions.
Senior BJP leader Lanka Dinakar asked why was COVID 19 protocols ignored when the YSR death anniversary was observed in the state. "Why are so many obstacles created for Ganesh Chaturdasi? Earlier, the government tried to divert the donations from Tirupati and Srisailam. They are now targeting the Ganesh festival," he said.
Former BJYM national secretary Panatula Suresh said Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy is anti-Hindu. The activists of BJP and BJYM stormed the Kadapa Collector's office. There was a brief altercation between party workers and the police.
Several organizations including Nagara Ganesh Ustava Samithi, Viswa Hindu Parishad and other Hindu organizations staged protests in various places in East and West Godavari districts amidst rains.
Workers staged a dharna at the collector's office and submitted a memorandum. VHP activists led by Vobilisetty Venkateswarlu staged a dharna near Lord Ganesh Temple at Bhimavaram.