YSRCP MLA RK Roja has hit out at the Andhra Pradesh government for allegedly detaining her at the Gannavaram Airport, saying that her treatment on the way to the National Women’s Parliament (NWP) reflects on the government’s thinking about women’s empowerment.
In a video that has emerged online, Roja claimed that she was detained, when she had come to attend the NWP in Andhra’s upcoming capital Amaravati, on the Andhra Speaker’s invitation. The video seems to have been shot by Roja herself.
“When I heard that they were moving beyond politics, and hosting a women’s parliament very successfully, I also came to attend, but they have arrested me. When Chandrababu Naidu’s daughter-in-law, Venkaiah Naidu’s daughter and KCR’s daughter can speak at the event, but I am arrested, is it politics or are they really discussing women’s empowerment?” she asks in the video.
Telangana MP K Kavitha, who happens to be Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao’s daughter, had made her speech at the event on Friday. CM Naidu’s daughter-in-law Nara Brahmani, the Executive Director of Heritage Foods, who is also the daughter of popular actor and TDP MLA Nandamuri Balakrishna, addressed the event on Saturday morning. Venkaiah Naidu’s daughter Deepa Venkat, known for her social service through her Swarna Bharat Trust based in Andhra, is also a speaker at the event.
In the video, Roja goes on to attack Andhra Pradesh Speaker Kodela Shiva Prasad saying, “You have only sent an invitation, which is why I came. However, I haven’t even received a phone call after a woman MLA from your Assembly is being treated like this.”
“At the airport, the Assistant Commissioner of Police said that they were sending me to a hotel, and made me wait from 8.50am to 10.20am. After that with police protection, they put me in a car and are taking me on Ongole road. Even after a Speaker invited me, they have brought policewomen to detain me and move me out of the city. What does this mean?” she asks.
She also talks about her “illegal” suspension for one year from the Assembly, ordered by Kodela Shiva Prasad for allegedly making objectionable comments against Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.
The actress-turned-MLA from the Nagari constituency in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh had said her suspension from the Assembly on December 18, 2015 was arbitrary and done by a voice vote.
She also hit out at the Speaker for his recent sexist comments, where he compared women and sexual assaults to cars and accidents, saying, “It reflects his thoughts on women.”
“If you are so scared, why did you invite me? What do you want to convey with this? These people have spent money from the state to buy flight tickets and host all the guests in hotels. Then they will show them a colourful tour of Amaravati, and then for the next four or five years, they will boast about it,” she said.
“To tell the truth of what’s happening here, I shouldn’t come, my party’s leader YS Vijaylakshmi shouldn’t come, Brinda Karat shouldn’t come, Medha Patkar shouldn’t come. Only people who sing ‘bhajans’ in their praise should come. What do they think of themselves? The police are also behaving atrociously,” she added.
Roja is not the first female Opposition leader to hit out at the state government over the NWP. Women from all parties, including the BJP, which is an ally of the TDP, have claimed that they have not received an invite for the event.
When contacted by the Times of India, a state leader of the BJP’s Mahila Morcha, as well as the state women’s Congress president Sunkara Padmasri, had said that they had not received invites.
TDP founder NT Rama Rao’s daughter, Daggubati Purandeswari, was also not invited, and told TOI, “I have not received the invite for the NWP. So, I am not attending the conclave.”
As the video ends, a female police officer sitting in the back seat of the car, is seen trying to grab Roja’s phone.
Watch the video here