Legislators of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the main opposition party in Andhra Pradesh assembly, Tuesday continued their protest against the shortage of electricity.
The legislators, who were arrested by the police late Monday night after they refused to leave the Chief Minister's Office in the state secretariat, sat on protest Tuesday in the assembly premises.
The opposition legislators demanded that the Congress government take immediate steps to solve the problem of electricity shortage and ensure seven-hour supply to the farm sector.
Raising anti-government slogans, the TDP legislators staged a sit-in at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi. The security staff removed the media persons accompanying the protesting legislators. This evoked a strong reaction from the TDP.
To protest the police attitude, one of the legislators, N. Rajkumari, climbed on top of the building, making for some anxious moments for assembly officials.
Following repeated and fervent appeals by the officials, she ended her protest.
TDP leader E. Dayakar Rao alleged that the government was insensitive to the problems faced by farmers. He said the farmers were getting electricity supply not even for three hours a day, causing them huge losses.
The opposition party demanded that the government immediately call an assembly session to discuss the severe power crisis in the state.
The legislators alleged that when they called on him at his office Monday evening, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy failed to offer them an assurance that their concerns would be addressed.
Even after the chief minister left his office, as many as 40 TDP legislators remained in the meeting hall till midnight.
The police arrested them after they refused to leave the secretariat.
The police cut off electricity supply to the building, stopped food from being taken inside, and evicted media persons.
When the protest continued despite these moves, the police entered the building to arrest the legislators.
The chief minister, meanwhile, has said that his government is doing everything possible to address the power shortage.
He said the gap between demand and supply was huge and the government was buying 50 million units from outside the state everyday to narrow the gap.
The government has already imposed three- to six-hour power cuts in cities and towns while in rural areas power during day time is supplied only to the farm sector.