Chandrababu Naidu

Chandrababu Naidu frisked at airport, TDP finds it humiliating

The image of Chandrababu Naidu being frisked at Vijaywada airport while he was on his way to catch a flight to Hyderabad, has gone viral. To give credit to the former chief minister, he did not kick up a fuss – at least not in public – over the refusal by the authorities to let his convoy to go up till the aircraft on the tarmac, being frisked and forced to travel in an airline passenger bus.

But he needs to tell his Telugu Desam colleagues to calm down, take a deep breath and count one to 60. Particularly, former Deputy chief minister Chinna Rajappa who kicked up a fuss about the attitude of the security staff which he found “humiliating”. 

So VIP Rajappa who till the other day, was pleading with common voters in Peddapuram assembly constituency to vote for him, now looks at being treated like a common citizen and rubbing shoulders with them, with disdain. At least as a former Home minister, he should know that Leaders of Opposition in state assemblies are not exempt from security checks.

He should take a cue from his colleague, Ashok Gajapathi Raju who even when he was Union minister for Civil Aviation, would carry his own bag and travel in the passenger bus. This when any airline would have been more than happy to keep the minister in good humour by arranging for a vehicle to drive from the terminal to the aircraft. 

In case the TDP leaders are planning to make this into a big issue, alleging vindictive behaviour in removing convoy clearance to Naidu up till the aircraft, they would be barking up the wrong tree. Because Jaganmohan Reddy who was Leader of Opposition till last month, underwent frisking (pic above) and travelled in the passenger bus (pic below) everytime he flew. 

In fact, if the TDP is talking of Naidu’s privileges as LoP, then what of the shabby manner in which Rajappa’s police treated Jagan on 26 January 2017, detaining him at Visakhapatnam airport, not allowing him to enter the city. All this because the YSRCP leader was planning to take part in a candlelight march on the RK Beach Road to demand Special Category issue for Andhra Pradesh. The police action provoked Jagan and other VIP leaders to sit on dharna at the tarmac before they were compelled to take the next flight back to Hyderabad. 

Or is the TDP suggesting threat to Naidu’s life on account of mingling with the janta? It is a reasonable apprehension and fear to have but the same TDP incidentally had dismissed the knife attack on Jagan (pic above) inside Vizag airport in October 2018 as a gimmick. 

What the TDP needs to do is to make out a case for Naidu to be treated as a special case, pointing to the Maoist threat to him because of which he enjoys Z plus category security cover with guards drawn from the elite National Security Guards (NSG).

Naidu had survived a Maoist attack on his life in October 2003 and the party would be well advised to request the Union Home and Civil Aviation ministry to make an exception in his case and ensure his safety is not compromised with. That would be a better way to approach the issue instead of talking about political witch-hunt and imaginary insults.   

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