Normal life remained paralysed for the second consecutive day on Friday in the 13 districts of the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions of the state following the bandh called to protest against the tabling of the Telangana Bill in Parliament on Thursday.
The shutdown being called by the YSR Congress party and another group fighting for united Andhra Pradesh was marked by protest rallies and demonstration.
Meanwhile, YSR Congress president YS Jaganmohan Reddy, who was on Thursday suspended along 15 other MPs by the Lok Sabha speaker for his involvement in the unruly, noisy incidents, met BJP chief Rajnath Singh today and sought his support against the move to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh.
Although BJP is in favour of the plan to create a separate Telangana state, Reddy said after his meeting with Singh that he hoped opposition parties would oppose the proposal to split AP.
“We (Singh and himself) had a very detailed discussion on the topic. He assured us that he would be discussing the matter with his party colleagues and a decision (on the Telangana Bill issue) would be taken very soon,” Reddy said.
“I am hopeful that wisdom would dawn upon all opposition parties and all of them would stand up against this injustice,” he added.
Buses of state-owned Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) remained off the roads while shops, business establishments and educational institutions were closed. The bandh hit the operations of APSRTC buses at Visakhapatnam, Krishna, East Godavari, Guntur, Kadapa, Kurnool, Anantapur and Chittoor districts. Also affected were cities like Tirupati and Vijayawada although, according to police, the situation has remained peaceful so far.
Activists of the YSR Congress and Andhra Pradesh Non-Gazetted Officers (APNGOs) Association took to streets since early Friday to protest the central government’s action of tabling the bill in Parliament despite a strong opposition from MPs belonging to Seemandhra.
The protesters, raising slogans against the UPA government and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, staged road blockades at several places.
‘Samaikyandhra parirakshana vedika’ or ‘Save United Andhra’ front also has called for shutdown in Seemandhra to condemn what it alleged was an attack on state MPs by the MPs from other states.
The strike by government employees in Seemandhra continued for the ninth day on Friday to protest the proposed bifurcation of the state.
Meanwhile, central minister JD Seelam had to face the ire of the protestors in Krishna district. The minister, who was going to West Godavari district, was stopped by the protestors near Hanuman Junction. A protestor threw broom on the minister’s car. Police used mild force to disperse the mob to provide safe passage to the convoy.
The bandh’s impact on its second day today has been more widespread than on Day 1 with TDP and YSRCP supporters staging sit-ins at many places, sources said.