HC Order on road shows a setback for parties ahead of polls

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Hyderabad, Nov 26 (UNI) The interim stay on road shows given by Andhra Pradesh High Court has come as a dampener for major political parties gearing up to organise road shows in a big way to woo voters, ahead of the 2009 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in the state.

A Bench, comprising Chief Justice A R Dave and Justice R Subash Reddy, yesterday put the breaks on road shows on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), filed by a non-governmental organisation 'Abhipray', taking note of the hardships caused to the general public with the political parties vying with each other in a show of strength.

Welcoming the order, State Congress Spokesman P Venkata Rao told UNI here that inconvenience caused to the public should be minimised and appropriate guidelines evolved by the state government in consultation with major political parties.

The main opposition Telugu Desam Party(TDP), which has planned to rope in actor members of the family of the party founder N T Rama Rao, including popular hero Balakrishna, would appeal against the interim order, party sources said. It was not proper to deny the democratic right of parties to reach out to the people at large, they claimed.

The interim order has also come as a bolt from the blue to the latest entrant to politics from tinsel world, Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) founder, actor Chiranjeevi. He had planned a series of roadshows in Nellore District from November 29, having already completed two legs of his state wide tour.

PRP leader T Sitaram said the party would give an appropriate reply after receiving of the court notice. It was the duty of the Government to ensure that no inconvenience was caused to the public, he said.

Telangana Rashtra Samiti(TRS) Chief K Chandrasekhar Rao had to end his ''Jai Telangana Yatra'' abruptly in Adilabad District.

TRS MP B Vinod opined that Court should not put any ''blanket ban'' on a democratic right of political parties to address the people as part of their election campaign. However, regulations could be imposed, providing a level playing field for both the ruling and opposition parties, he observed.

BJP state unit President B Dattatreya said it was a fact that general public was put to inconvenience by a large convoy of vehicles following a leader. The government should consult all parties and evolve suitable guidelines in the wake of the observations made by the High Court.

Communist Party of India(CPI) state unit Secretary K Narayana also admitted that mega road shows, organised by some parties, were certainly causing inconvenience to people at large. However, political parties should not be prevented from reaching out to the people to canvas for votes for their party candidates.

CPI(M) state unit Secretary B V Raghavulu demanded that the state government convene an all-party meeting to evolve guidelines for all parties to address the concerns of the Court and the petitioner.

Lok Satta Party President Jayaprakash Narayana welcomed the court's interim order and said this should be an eye-opener for mainline parties, who try to create an ''illusion'' of support for their parties by mobilising large crowds.

UNI SM VA NY KN1357

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