Bandh in Andhra Pradesh; bus services suspended, schools shut

Published: 08 February, 2018 20:00 IST | PTI | Amaravati

State-wide bandh over Andhra Pradesh being overlooked in the Union Budget today affected normal life with almost all parties but the BJP supporting the call given by the Left parties

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A state-wide bandh over Andhra Pradesh being overlooked in the Union Budget today affected normal life with almost all parties but the BJP supporting the call given by the Left parties. There were no incidents of violence, but the bandh elicited a good response, with business establishments and educational institutions remaining closed and state transport buses remaining off the roads.

Ruling TDP, whose MPs have raised these issues vociferously in Parliament, supported the bandh with its leaders and workers staging protests at many places. The Left parties called the bandh to protest the failure of the Centre to implement the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, that led to the creation of Telangana and the "meagre" provisions for the state in the 2018-19 Union Budget. Opposition parties YSR Congress, Congress and Jana Sena extended their support to the bandh.

The TDP did not take part officially, but its workers organised rallies and sit-ins across the state in solidarity with the party MPs. The Budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley provided Rs 1,814 crore for the state under various heads and another Rs 3,607 crore for railway projects. Parties in Andhra Pradesh also alleged that the Centre overlooked the Polavaram Irrigation project and the Visakhapatnam Metro in the Budget. Projects for the emerging capital city Amaravati, setting up of national educational institutes such as IITs and IIMs, and the promised Dugarajapatnam Port and the steel plant in Kadapa district, among other things, were also overlooked, they said. Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who was in Dubai on a day's trip, spoke to senior TDP leaders over phone and enquired about the bandh and his party's agitation, TDP sources said. Official sources also said that Naidu had asked the police not to crack down on protesters as long as the agitation is peaceful.

The state road transport corporation suspended bus services across the state in view of the agitations. Educational institutions declared a holiday, while business establishments remained closed. YSRC president and Leader of Opposition Y S Jaganmohan Reddy took a day's break from his ongoing foot-march to join the protest at Dandigam in SPS Nellore district. Local students joined him. "Justice was not done to AP consequent to the bifurcation, even 44 months after (prime minister) Narendra Modi came to power. Provisions of the reorganisation act were not implemented, nor was special category status accorded to AP," CPI state secretary K Ramakrishna said in Kurnool. "Gross injustice was done to the state in the last four Union Budgets and if Modi doesn't correct the wrongs, we will step up the agitation," he said. State TDP president K Kala Venkata Rao led the protest in Guntur town. TDP MPs would continue to fight for the state's rights in Parliament till the Centre addressed "our concerns", Rao said, adding "people and intellectuals irrespective of political affiliations should stand in solidarity with our MPs". TDP MLA Bode Prasad got his head tonsured on a road in Amaravati, by way of protest against the Centre.

In Machilipatnam, state Law minister Kollu Ravindra staged a sit-in outside the state transport corporation's bus station, demanding that the Centre honour the promises made to AP in Parliament. Workers of the Left parties staged sit-ins in front of several APRTC depots and took out protest marches and rallies in prominent towns and cities. YSRC workers joined the protest rallies in Kurnool, Guntur and Tirupati. Thin attendance was reported in government offices.The Andhra University (AU) announced suspension of classes to avoid inconvenience to students.

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