The 13 districts of Coastal and Rayalaseema (Seemandhra) are witnessing a massive anti-Telangana backlash as a 72-hour long shutdown came into effect and lakhs of people took to the streets. Simultaneous protests broke out in cities and towns from Srikakulam in north coastal AP to Anantapur down in Rayalaseema. All state and national highways were blocked,schools,colleges,business and government offices were shut,and protestors attacked homes of elected members asking them to resign.
Tensions ran high in Vijayawada where thousands of students came out on the streets to protest against the Cabinet’s nod to Telangana. Anger spilled onto the streets and massive protests are being witnessed in Vizag,Vizianagaram,Srikakulam,Chittor,Guntur,Anantapur,Kadapa and Kurnool.
Amid reports that Union Ministers M M Pallam Raju,Panabaka Lakshmi,Kavuri Samba Siva Rao,K Chiranjeevi,K J Surya Prakash Reddy,and Killi Krupa Rani resigned in protest,YSR Congress president Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy while announcing an indefinite hunger strike requested all elected members of Seemandhra region to resign and create a constitutional crisis.
Seemandhra Secretariat employees clashed with police and staged violent protests at the Secretariat. Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy is closeted in a meeting with several MPs and MLAs at his residence. Rajya Sabha MPs led by Renuka Chowdhury are also expected to resign today afternoon.
Heavy police and paramilitary force has been deployed in sensitive districts since last night in anticipation of a violent backlash. Hundreds of people have been taken into custody while setting roadblocks and lighting fires on the highways. The residence of PCC chief Botsa Satyanarayana in Vizianagaram was attacked by protestors. People surrounded the homes of MPs and MLAs in many districts demanding they quit immediately.
Vijayawada MP Lagadapati Rajagopal said that while they bitterly opposed,what he termed as undemocratic and unfair manner in which the Centre pushed the Telangana issue,they will wait till the Bill reaches Parliament where they will vote against it. ”After that it is up to the MPs individual decision,what they want to do, he said. Guntur MP Rayapati Sambasiva Rao put in his papers,and said that the Congress party was finished in Seemandhra and would be routed in the coming elections. ”I am hurt and aggrieved by the manner in which the state has been bifurcated. I am resigning as MP and membership of party,he said over phone.
Meanwhile,as public and private transport came to a grinding halt,more than 40,000 pilgrims were stranded at Tirumala Temple without any transportation facility to return. The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) is struggling to provide them accommodation and make food arrangements. The Seemandhra Lawyer Joint Action Committee (JAC) has also called a 48-hour-bandh in the 13 districts of Seemandhra and the Andhra Pradesh Non-Gazetted Officers (APNGOs) Association has called for 48-hour blockade of national highways. As a result,traffic backed up on the crucial Vijayawada-Hyderabad NH 9.