The state supported bandh in Andhra Pradesh against the privatisation of the Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited turned out to be a success, particularly at the epicentre Vizag where educational institutions, commercial establishments, banks and even theaters were shut down and huge protest rallies took the centre stage.
Meanwhile, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on his way to campaign for municipal elections at Adoni joined the protests at Kodumur in Kurnool and promised to raise the privatisation of the steel plant on the floor of the Parliament. “This is wrong. The Modi government is indulging in crony capitalism in the name of privatisation,”said Owaisi extending his support to the protesters.
With the ruling YSRCP endorsing the bandh, along with TDP, Left parties and Congress its success was assured, particularly as the state run buses did not ply till 1 p.m.
However, in addition to Road Transport Corporation employees who struck work lorry owners even auto rickshaws stopped plying extending support to the trade unions and employees unions who had called the bandh.
However, bus services continued in Tirumala to avoid inconveniencing the pilgrims.
In Vijayawada Left activists protested at Lenin Centre as Krishna and West Godavari districts saw various political parties taking out rallies and organising protests against the Centre’s privatisation move. Educational institutions declared holiday although banks and shops remained open.
BJP and its ally Jana Sena stayed away from the bandh. Vizag saw a complete shutdown and a massive human chain was organised at Maddilapalem junction in the city to protest against the Centre’s move.
YSRCP’s Rajya Sabha MP Vijaya Sai Reddy and local MP participated in the protest which saw banners of both Left parties and Left trade unions besides those of the ruling YSRCP.
However, minor clashes were reported from Krishna and Prakasham districts between TDP and YSRCP supporters over the privatisation of the steel plant. TDP workers alleged that YSRCP was hand in glove with the Centre in privatisation as the party wants South Korean steel manufacturing company POSCO to buy RINL though the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has dismissed the allegations.
However tempers flared as allegations flew leading to the clashes between the supporters. Tempers are running high due to the upcoming municipal elections across the state.