Eight people — one of them a woman — died in a near-stampede in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh, during a roadshow by the state’s former Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu.
Mr Naidu, who is now the Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly, was expected to address a meeting a Kandukur town as a part of his “Idemi Kharma Mana Rashtraniki (Why is our state facing this fate?)” campaign.
The rush started as Mr Naidu’s convoy was to reach the area in the evening. The huge crowd, which had gathered, pressed forward for a glimpse of the leader. Local authorities said in the rush, a cement railing broke and many fell in an open drainage canal which passed alongside and eight people died.
Some, who were injured, are undergoing treatment in the local hospital.
Mr Naidu, who immediately cancelled the meeting, has announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the families who have lost their loved ones. He also said he would support the education of the children if any and asked his party leaders to ensure better medical care to the injured.
The chief of Telugu Desam Party has been holding a series of meetings across the state, where assembly elections are due in 2024.
The party, which was routed by Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress in 2019, is seen as enjoying a resurgence, with a huge success of Mr Naidu’s Mahanadu — the annual party conclave.
In January, Mr Naidu’s son, Nara Lokesh, will start a 4,000-km footmarch, that is likely to be a youth platform. Titled “Yuva Galam”, it will encourage young people of the state to raise their voice and fight for what they deserve.
Coining the “Quit Jagan, save AP” slogan, Mr Naidu has said the 2024 elections would be his last if people did not elect his party back to power.