Daily life across Andhra Pradesh was deeply affected due to a day-long shutdown over demands for a special category status to the state. The bandh call by Andhra Pradesh Pratyeka Hoda Sadhana Samithi (PHSS) was supported by CPM, CPI and Congress TDP. BJP, YSRCP and Jana Sena opposed the shutdown.
Activists from different groups were arrested throughout the Andhra Pradesh. Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) buses were off the roads, while shops, businesses and educational institutions remained closed.
PHSS chairman Chalasani Srinivas noted that the shutdown was called on the same day that the Union Budget was presented in Parliament to draw the nation's attention towards the plight of Andhra Pradesh and the Centre's failure to fulfill its promise to accord the state with special category status.
At Vijayawada's Pandit Nehru Bus Stand, Pratyeka Hoda Sadhana Samithi (Front for Special Status) activists, AP Congress Committee President Raghuveera Reddy and other left parties leaders held dharna demanding SCS. Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, his cabinet colleagues and TDP legislators attended the Assembly session wearing black shirts.
Left parties staged a protest in Vijayawada at the Lenin Centre and burnt an effigy representing the Union Government. CPI(M) State Secretary CH Madhu and Chalasani Srinivas also took part in the protest. Demonstrations were also held in Guntur, Rajahmundry, Tirupati, Kurnool, Anantapur and other towns.
Speaking to media, Raghuveera Reddy said that the Parliament budget session is the final opportunity for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to keep up his promise of SCS. Referring to Modi's potential visit to state, Reddy said, "you implement the promises and come to the state. If you are coming without doing, you have no right to come here. Otherwise, you will face difficulties".
Government Employees Association has also appealed to the employees to wear black badges while attending their duties. Andhra Pradesh Lorry Owners' Association, managements of private schools and colleges were also extending support to the shutdown. Board of Intermediate Education has postponed the practical exams. Degree exams under Andhra University jurisdiction were also postponed due to the bandh.
Following the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh to carve out Telangana in 2014, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced in Parliament that residual state of Andhra Pradesh would be accorded the special category status.
TDP pulled out of BJP-led NDA government at the Centre last year after the latter ruled out special status.
Chandrababu Naidu, who has also accused Modi government of going back on commitments made in Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2014, will be staging a protest in New Delhi on February 11.
(With IANS inputs)