The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Thursday suspended the government order (GO) prohibiting road shows and road side meetings for both highways and municipal and Panchayat roads till 23 January and the court directed the state government to file a counter affidavit.
The GO was issued by the state government following two incidents of stampede leading to deaths of a total of 11 people within a week in separate programmes in which TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu had taken part. The road show in Kandukur town of Nellore saw the deaths of eight TDP workers while three women died in Guntur during distribution of ration kits.
The state secretary of CPI Ramakrishna filed a lunch motion petition in the High Court challenging the decision of the state government and the court said the GO was against the rules and directed the state government to file a counter affidavit by 20 January. The division bench of Justice D Devanand and Justice Krupasagar suspended the controversial order till 23 January while the court will hear the matter next on 20 January.
Advocate General Shriram had argued that the vacation bench of the court should not hear cases related to policy matters. The CPI leader had said in his petition that YSRCP was trying to suppress dissent in the state.
While the state government had claimed that the GO was aimed at ensuring the safety of the general people, the Opposition had slammed the state government for silencing their voices. A recent visit by former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu in Kuppam saw him repeatedly stopped by the police while his campaign vehicle was taken away to the police station to prevent road shows. It also saw the coming together of TDP leader N Chandrababu Naidu and Jana Sena’s Pawan Kalyan, an ally of BJP which suggested a change of equation between the two Opposition parties.