Andhra Pradesh came to a grinding halt on Monday in response to the bandh called by the Pratyeka Hoda Vibhajana Hameela Sadhana Samithi, who demanded that the state be granted Special Category Status. This bandh was supported by Left parties, Andhra’s chief opposition party YSRCP, the Congress and Pawan Kalyan's Jana Sena party.
The only party that did not support the bandh call was the Telugu Desam Party. The bandh was supported by all sections of society and commercial firms were voluntarily shut. Security arrangements were made to maintain law and order across the state.
Vijayawada, Guntur, Visakhapatnam and Ongole were among the cities that witnessed huge rallies, demanding that justice be served to Andhra Pradesh. Ongole woke up to protests by various parties and student organisations.
The public transport system was largely affected as APSRTC buses were off the roads. In Krishna district alone, 14 depots were shut. Krishna region's RTC manager told the media that they would restart services once the protest ended.
"Since the protesters blocked the bus depots from early morning, services were affected during the day. We will restart services as soon as the protests end," he said.
Day services of long routes to locations such as Bengaluru and Hyderabad were also affected. Services are, however, expected to start from the evening.
RTC officials said that they were co-coordinating with police authorities with regard to the security concerns of RTC properties.
Some public and private universities even rescheduled their semester and annual examinations due to the protests.
TDP has also attracted criticism for choosing to stay away from the bandh.
"The central government has to respond immediately. This bandh is against the BJP and the opportunistic TDP," said CPI(M) state committee member CH Babu Rao.
Babu Rao lashed out at Naidu, accusing him of playing a dual role - that of demanding SCS from the Centre and yet not supporting the bandh.
"Despite heavy control and threat, people from all walks of life are participating voluntarily in the bandh. This shows that people have lost trust in Chandrababu Naidu’s dual role," he said.
Speaking to TNM, Andhra Congress spokesperson Kolanukonda Shivaji attacked both the union and state government for not fulfilling their electoral promises.
"When you (Naidu) called for the all-party meet, we supported it and presented ourselves. Why can't your party support the bandh? Why is the TDP playing a dual role?" he asked.
He also demanded that Chandrababu Naidu take all the parties to Jantar Mantar in Delhi to protest against the Modi government if Naidu is committed to getting Special Category Status.
The struggle for Special Category Status reached its peak just before and during the Budget Session of the Parliament, which resulted in the TDP pulling of the NDA coalition, various parties wanting to pass their own no-confidence motions and YSRCP mass-resigning.