Opposition parties in Andhra Pradesh have called for a statewide shutdown on September 10 to protest against what they dubbed as the Centre's denial of special category status to the state.
The main opposition YSR Congress Party appealed to the people to voluntarily participate in the shutdown on Saturday to convey their strong sentiments to the state and the central governments.
The Congress, the Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India-Marxist and Forum for Achieving Special Status also called for the shutdown.
What will be affected?
The state's Congress chief N Raghuveera Reddy, who led a protest in Anantapur district on Thursday announced that the party would not let the state function on Saturday and stated that they would block 10 national highways in the state.
The CPI has vowed to ensure that the bandh in Srikakulam district is a success.
According to reports, protests and meetings are being organised in several cities including Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam, Guntur, Tirupati and Anantapur during the day.
Others reported that the parties would also try to close educational institutions in the state.
The Anantapur police already detained hundreds of college students for shutting their institutions down on Thursday.
Parties are also expected to monitor public spaces like bus stops and railway stations to ensure the success of the bandh.
Ratepayers' Association and AP Rythu Sangham (APRS) have also extended their support to the state bandh
However, the state government is yet to officially respond to the call for the bandh and it is still unclear if shops and services would be affected.
Protests break out
Sporadic protests already broke out in various parts of the state on Thursday, with opposition parties and other groups staging protests across the state, alleging that the people of the state were betrayed by the Telugu Desam Party-led state government and the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre.
They termed Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's statement on the matter disappointing, saying a package can't be a substitute for special status. They alleged that the BJP had gone back on its word to grant special status to Andhra Pradesh.
Activists of the opposition parties organised road blockades and took out rallies and raised slogans against the state and central governments.
Protests were also held in front of the central government offices in Vijaywada, Visakhapatnam and other places.
Chalasani Srinivas of the Forum for Achieving Special Status said the special status and package were the state's right and not a charity by the Centre.
The opposition parties targeted Chief Minister and TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu for welcoming the package.
Jaitley on Wednesday said the state could not be accorded special category status in view of the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission.
He, however, announced that the state will be provided monetary compensation through externally aided projects.
The Times of India reported:
In a novel protest in Nellore, students begged on the road demanding SCS for AP...Tension prevailed in Tirupati when police resorted to mild lathicharge to disperse the CPI, CPM and YSRCP workers, who tried to prevent the staff from entering BSNL office in the temple town.
Activists of the YSR Congress Party, the Congress and the left parties tried to hold protests in front of the assembly building in Hyderabad. YSR Congress legislators wore black shirts in the state assembly as a mark of protest.
Meanwhile, film star turned politician and Jana Sena party founder Pawan Kalyan decided to go ahead with his rally to protect the “self-respect” of Andhra people, at Kakinada in East Godavari district on Friday.
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