While the UPA government kept its promise of introducing the Telangana Bill in the Parliament, one person who managed to shift the focus from the Bill to himself was MP Lagadapati Rajagopal. In the eye of the storm for using a pepper spray in the Lok Sabha to stall tabling of the Telangana Bill, the expelled Congress MP claimed he did it in self-defence. A look at what Rajagopal had to say in his defence:
I used pepper spray for self- defence: Claiming that he uses pepper spray for self protection as he faces “great threat” from pro-Telangana protesters, Rajagopal said, “I was under attack. As I cannot use lethal weapons and as someone with no security, I used the pepper spary like women do to protect myself from the attack”.
Further, the Congress MP stated that he went to rescue TDP MP M Venugopala Reddy who was targeted by Congress MPs while he was protesting in the well of the House.
Rajagopal not new to drama: In his hometown of Vijayawada and native district of Krishna, MP Lagadapati Rajagopal, 50, is known to have endeared himself to the masses with his attention-grabbing ways — whether because of his rhetoric or his flair for the dramatic. So not many were surprised that he used a pepper spray in the Lok Sabha.
In December 2009, he had the entire administration of then CM K Rosaiah and the state police force on its toes after he made a dramatic escape from the Vijayawada government hospital, where he had been admitted after being arrested for starting a pro-United Andhra hunger strike. Rajagopal escaped after he requested police guards to let him use the toilet, even as over 200 security personnel were deployed outside.
Kiran Bedi tried to establish her credentials as a secular, pro-women candidate.