Rail and road services were disrupted due to a bandh called by TDP to protest the arrest of their party chief N Chandrababu Naidu,who began a hunger strike against Maharashtra government stopping his visit to the controversial Babhli barrage site.
TDP Rajya Sabha member Nandamuri Harikrishna was taken into custody near the AP-Maharashtra border when he tried to proceed to Dharmabad to meet Naidu and other partymen.
Several TDP,CPI and CPM leaders were also taken into custody as they staged rail and road blockades in various parts of Andhra Pradesh.
“Naidu and his associates went on a hunger strike this morning and declined inspection by a medical team sent into the ITI premises where they are lodged,” an official said.
The TDP chief and 74 partymen were arrested on Friday by Maharashtra Police at Dharmabad during the protest over the irrigation project in Babhli and remanded in two days judicial custody on Saturday after they refused to take bail.
Sporting black badges,TDP leaders garlanded the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the Dharmabad ITI premises before launching the fast.
“I am going to meet them and will return immediately. I have every right to do so,” Harikrishna told the police but was taken into custody as a preventive measure.
Meanwhile,TDP is rushing a team of doctors to examine the health of six party MLAs–Abdul Ghani,Mandava Venkateswara Rao,M Kishan Reddy,P Ramulu,Linga Reddy and Meenakshi Naidu– currently in judicial remand in Dharmabad.
Though Chandrababu Naidu asked the six MLAs to go back to AP,the latter refused and vowed to continue the fight along with the former.
The bandh drew mixed response as businesses remained closed in various parts of AP while in the state capital Hyderabad party workers damaged some RTC buses that came on to the roads.
The state-run Road Transport Corporation,however,did not suspend the city services fully and was plying buses partially despite the protests.
The CPI and the CPM expressed solidarity with the TDP and participating in the hartal in the state.
At Narsapur in Medak district,TDP workers took out a ‘funeral procession’ with the effigy of Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan to register their protest.
In Hyderabad,several TDP,CPI and CPM leaders were taken into custody as they staged ‘rasta-roko’ at important junctions in the city. In Vijayawada and Warangal too several TDP leaders were arrested for stopping trains.
At Ghanpur station in Warangal district,TDP workers stopped the Secunderabad-bound Golconda Express for a few minutes while at Gadwal in Mahbubnagar district,the Tungabhadra Express was detained by the protestors.
Many trains were blocked at different railway stations in the state,information reaching here said.