For the last several years, Vishakhapatnam airport has been donning the headlines for all the wrong reasons when it comes to politics in Andhra Pradesh. Recently, a mob, believed to be the followers of the Janasena party, threw stones and chappals at the convoy of state ministers at Vizag airport. This incident resulted in many leaders of Janasena being mentioned in police cases.
The airport is located approximately 10 kilometres from the core city. It has been a witness to key moments over the past five years that have shaped the political environment of the state.
When Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy was in the Opposition, he organised a protest on the tarmac when the police stopped him from coming out of the airport in January 2017. The then Opposition leader also came to Vishakhapatnam airport to participate in a candlelight rally to demand special status for Andhra Pradesh.
After a half-an-hour heated drama on the runway, Jagan and his entourage made it to the airport’s lounge but were still sent back to Hyderabad from the airport.
Jagan was attacked with a knife almost 20 months after the tarmac protest at the Vishakhapatnam airport in October 2018. This event led to widespread anger and political uproar. The YSRCP blamed the TDP for the attack.
Reddy was in the middle of a nearly 3,600 km journey, the Praja Sankalpa Yatra that started from Idupulapaya to Ichchapuram. He reached the airport and was to catch a Hyderabad-bound flight. The accused, employed by a food joint, suddenly stabbed Reddy in the shoulder. Reddy suffered a deep laceration in the shoulder and resumed his padayatra after a three-week break.
Former CM N. Chandrababu Naidu also had a similar experience. He was detained in February 2020 at the airport, stopping his attempt to go on his ‘Praja Chaitanya Yatra’. After a five-hour protest and ruckus, Naidu was sent back to Hyderabad as a ‘preventive’ measure.
Regarding the recent stone-pelting incident, state ministers and YSRCP leaders are directly blaming the Janasena followers and leaders for the attack, Janasena chief Pawan Kalyan said that they see the attack in the same light as the Kodi Kathi (rooster knife attack) drama earlier played by the YSRCP.
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