Andhra Pradesh is preparing for a state-wide bandh on April 16 (Monday) to protest the Centre's refusal to grant Special Category Status (SCS) to the state.The one-day shutdown was called by the Pratyeka Hoda Vibhajana Hameela Sadhana Samithi, and is backed by the Left parties, chief opposition YSR Congress party, and actor-politician Pawan Kalyan's Jana Sena party.
The parties said that except emergency services like hospitals and pharmacies, all places across the state will be shut.
Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam are said to be the main cities that will be affected, with schools and colleges most likely to be shut down on Monday, as student unions have also extended support.
Fearing protests, GITAM university in Visakhapatnam even postponed exams that were scheduled to be held on Monday.
"In view of the announced bandh in Andhra Pradesh, all the semester/trimester end examinations to be held on Monday at the three campuses of GITAM are rescheduled. Inconvenience caused is regretted," a message read.
The rescheduled exam time table can be found here.
Labour unions have also extended support to the bandh, with organisations like Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) stating that they will participate in the bandh.
While autos and taxis may be off the roads, the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSTRC) is yet to take a call on buses running in the state. As of now, the corporation has planned to run buses unless the situation is tense, in which case, it will pull them off the roads.
The Andhra Pradesh police is also expected to beef up security across the state and deploy more personnel on the ground to avoid any untoward incidents.
Speaking at a press meet in Hyderabad earlier this week, Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan, CPI (M) State Secretary P Madhu and CPI State Secretary K Ramakrishna extended support to the bandh and lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for failing to grant SCS to the state.
“When Modi entered the portals of Parliament for the first time, we all believed that he would uphold the sanctity of the Constitution and democracy, but his attitude and strategy with regard to the no-confidence motion has upset everyone," the actor-politician told reporters at the time.
He was referring to no-confidence motion against the Centre in Parliament, which was moved by the YSRCP and the TDP, which walked out of the BJP-led ruling coalition, the NDA in March this year.
The motion could not be taken up due to ruckus by AIADMK members, and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu had alleged that the ruling party in TN was protesting on instructions from the BJP, to ensure the same.
Meanwhile, responding to the call for the state-wide bandh, Naidu said, “We need to educate the people against the Modi government and take the battle to Delhi. What is the point in stalling the development in the state? It will make Modi happier."