Demanding special category status for the state, Andhra Pradesh Pratyeka Hoda Saadhana Samiti has called for a statewide bandh on Monday. Most of the Opposition parties including YSR Congress (YSRC), Congress and Left parties have extended their support to the shutdown call, but the ruling TDP has opposed it.
On Sunday, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu said bandhs were not welcome as they hamper development. However, reacting to this, the YSRC accused him of adopting ‘double standards’. Asserting that Naidu should understand that bandh was a form of a democratic protest and he had no right to oppose it, YSRC political affairs committee member Ambati Rambabu said, “When Naidu was the opposition leader, he had called for bandhs on many occasions, but as a Chief Minister he is now opposing them (bandhs), saying they hinder development.”
The YSRC had last week staged rail roko in various parts of Andhra Pradesh regarding the same. Party leaders and activists were taken into custody at many places after they squatted on rail tracks and blocked movement of trains.
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The ruling Telugu Desam Party had withdrawn its ministers in the Union cabinet and walked out of the NDA after the BJP-led Centre denied special category status to Andhra Pradesh.
YSRC president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy announced a day's break to his ongoing 'Padayatra' (foot march) to monitor the bandh from his camp in Krishna district.
In Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh Pratyeka Hoda Saadhana Samiti president Chalasani Srinivas, CPI and CPI(M) state secretaries K Ramakrishna and P Madhu organised a 'dharna' at the PN bus station. In Visakhapatnam, YSR Congress MP V Vijayasai Reddy led the protest.
State Road Transport Corporation buses remained confined to the depots as protesters staged sit-ins and 'road roko' at various places.
Educational institutions remain shut in Andhra Pradesh
Educational institutions remained shut in Andhra Pradesh and examinations scheduled for the day have been postponed in view of the stir.
Chandrababu Naidu directs police to ensure peace in state
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who reviewed the situation with top police officials, directed them to ensure that peace prevailed in the state.
No untoward situation yet, except burning of motorbike
No untoward incidents, except burning of a motorbike in Tirupati, have been reported so far during the bandh called by the Andhra Pradesh Pratyeka Hoda Saadhana Samiti.
A state-wide bandh called by a people's forum for granting special category status (SCS) to Andhra Pradesh is being observed today. The ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP), though supporting the cause, decided to stay away from the agitation.
"The Prime Minister observed the fast while carrying out his duties.(He visited Chennai to inaugurate the defence exposition) Naidu criticised this, but now he himself is getting ready for a fast. He owes an explanation to the people on this," Haribabu, a BJP MP, said.
"Naidu doesn’t have any sincerity on the special category status issue. He has taken many U-turns so far, but still he is trying to con the people," Rambabu charged.
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Only reason I tied up with BJP was Andhra Pradesh wasn’t done justice during the bifurcation: Chandrababu Naidu
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who recently snapped ties with the BJP, in an interview to The Indian Express had said, "The only reason why I tied up with the BJP was that Andhra Pradesh wasn’t done justice during the bifurcation. The people have punished the Congress for that. They hoped the BJP would do justice. If I had reacted in a hurry, people wouldn’t have accepted it. My nature is to compromise and get things done for the state. It’s not that I have kept quiet during the four years. I have come here 29 times — I met the Prime Minister, all other ministers and the Finance Minister. Every time, they cited elections — be it in Bihar, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh or Gujarat." Read more
Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu had earlier also directed his MPs to approach President Ram Nath Kovind regarding the Centre’s refusal to grant the state special status.
TDP MPs, earlier this month, staged a protest in Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan’s chambers but were removed by security marshalls later in the evening. Five MPs of YSR Congress, who was also supporting the cause, announced their resignation from the Lower House on Friday to protest against the NDA government’s ‘failure’ in the case.
YSRCP chief Jagan Mohan Reddy had announced in February that the party’s five MPs would resign if its demand for Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh was not fulfilled by the Centre. The YSRCP and the TDP, which walked out of the BJP-led NDA, had given notices for no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha.
The rail-roko agitation was conducted in SPS Nellore and Kurnool districts as well. YSRC workers raised slogans demanding grant of special category status for Andhra Pradesh, saying it was the state’s right.
In rail roko protests last week, the YSRC workers stopped the Karnataka express in Guntakal, while in Tirupati the Chennai express was blocked. At Renigunta, YSRC political affairs committee member Bhumana Karunakar Reddy and other workers were taken into custody. Activists blocked movement of the Circar express train for a few minutes at Samalkot railway station, police said.
Ambati Rambabu alleged that the government has been issuing notices to those supporting the bandh, saying cases would be booked against them. Demanding special status to the state, people are sitting in protest in Vijayawada, Anantapur, West Godavari and other parts of the state. (ANI photo)
Motorcycle set ablaze near RTC bus stand in Tirupati during statewide bandh called in Andhra Pradesh over the demand of special status for the state. (ANI)
People sitting in protest in Visakhapatnam.
Buses to operate only till Andhra Pradesh state border today
Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation buses to operate only till Andhra Pradesh state border today due to the statewide bandh called in Andhra over the demand of special status for the state.
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(With inputs from agencies)