VIJAYAWADA: The State bandh called by the ‘Pratyeka Hoda Sadhana Samithi’ demanding special category status to Andhra Pradesh was total and peaceful. Barring a couple of minor incidents, no untoward incidents were reported.
Leaders and activists of YSRC, CPI, CPM, Congress, Lok Satta and other political parties took to the streets demanding SCS to AP. They staged sit-ins at bus stations across the State. Though it has extended its support to the bandh, cadres of the Jana Sena were seen sparsely.
The TDP, which kept away from the bandh, however, maintained a fine balance. Except Chief Minister, other party leaders did not make any remarks on the State bandh.
Interestingly, TDP activists staged a protest in Guntur city, sporting flowers in their ears, demanding special category status.
During a teleconference party leaders as part of the party coordination meeting, the Chief Minister opined that protests should not hamper development. He said people should think about the losses the State suffered due to the one-day bandh.
“We should not punish ourselves for the mistakes we have not committed. To protest against the injustice done to us, let us protest for half an hour and work an additional one hour, which will not only express our resentment but also benefit the State,” he said.
Meanwhile, YSRC chief YS Jaganmohan Reddy took a break from his Praja Sankalpa Yatra for the day in support of the State Bandh. Describing the bandh a success, Left parties, Congress and Jana Sena thanked people for their support. “Today, through the bandh, we sent a strong signal to the Centre. Atleast now, the Centre should understand the gravity of the situation and accord special status to AP,” CPI state secretary K Ramakrishna said.
The Pratyeka Hoda Sadhana Samithi has proposed National Highway blockade at the State borders for 24 hours to intensify the agitation.
Bandh hits normal life
The State bandh disrupted normal life in the State. APSRTC buses were confined to depots. Buses transporting pilgrims to Tirumala from Tirupati were exempted from the bandh and they operated normally. APSRTC suffered an estimated `12 crore losses due to the bandh.
Educational institutions were remain closed and all the examinations scheduled for the day were postponed.
At several places, commercial establishments were closed voluntarily. Morning shows in various theaters were not screened in Srikakulam and other districts. In the morning, main streets wore a deserted look and agitators were seen playing cricket, kabaddi and other games to mark their protest.
At Tirupati bus station, an abandoned motorcycle in the parking lot was set ablaze early in the morning. Based on the video footage from surveillance cameras, four YSRC party activists were arrested. Cases were registered against them under relevant sections of IPC and other acts. In Kurnool, agitators reportedly broke window panes of a private bus. In Gudur town of Nellore district, NH 16 was blocked for about 30 minutes, creating a traffic jam on the busy national highway.
We should not punish ourselves for the mistakes we have not committed. To protest against the injustice done to us, let us protest for half an hour and work an additional one hour, which will not only express our resentment but also benefit the State
-- N Chandrababu Naidu , Chief Minister
Today we sent a strong signal to the Centre. At least now, the centre should understand the gravity of the situation and accord special category status to AP -- K Ramakrishna, CPI state secretary