The day-long nation-wide bandh called by the opposition parties on Thursday to protest against diesel price hike, cap on subsidised LPG cylinders and foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, evoked near total response across the state.
Rasta rokos, protests and burning of government’s effigies by opposition leaders were witnessed in all major cities and towns even as police arrested several leaders.
The road transport came to a grinding halt with over four lakh trucks across the state staying off roads since midnight. A large number of auto-rickshaw drivers in Hyderabad and other towns also joined in the strike. Some trains were stopped for a couple of hours after the opposition parties staged protests in front of them in Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts.
Citizens were hit by lack of transportation as the APSRTC buses did not ply in most parts of the state. Only a few services were operated with police protection in Hyderabad and other districts. The RTC management itself cancelled over 12,000 bus services at many places. A few buses joined the operations in the evening.
Educational institutions, shops, petrol pumps, cinema halls, private companies and commercial establishments remained closed in several parts of Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Guntur, Nellore, Tirupati, Kurnool, Karimnagar, Warangal and other towns. Several government offices also wore a deserted look.
Police arrested scores of opposition workers who were trying to stop vehicles, including buses, and forcing down shutters of shops.
Since early morning, the opposition party workers including TDP, TRS, CPI, CPM and BJP came to streets and obstructed movement of RTC buses at the depots. BJP national leader M Venkaiah Naidu, state president G Kishan Reddy, CPI state secretary K Narayana, CPM state secretary BV Raghavulu and several other senior leaders were arrested while organising protests at bus stations and major junctions in Hyderabad.
Osmania, Kakatiya and other universities postponed all examinations in view of the shutdown.