Normal life was hit on Saturday by the day-long shutdown called by the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) to protest the delay in according special status to Andhra Pradesh.
Buses of state-owned Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) went off the roads while shops, business establishments and educational institutions were closed in most parts of the 13 districts.
The left parties, students’ groups, traders, employees’ unions and people’s organisations announced their support to the shutdown call.
YSRCP workers took to streets in many towns since early morning. Raising slogans of ‘we want special status’ and ‘CM down down’, they staged sit-ins at APSRTC depots to prevent buses from coming out.
They also put up roadblocks and took out rallies to protest the failure of TDP-led government to get the special status from the Centre.
The shutdown evoked good response in both Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions. Communist Party of India (CPI) and CPI-Marxist also took out rallies in support of the shutdown.
Police arrested YSRCP leaders in Vijayawada when they staged a sit-in at the Nehru bus station. Former minister Parthasarthi and Vangaveeti Radha were among those arrested.
In Visakhapatnam, police arrested YSRCP leader Vijay Sai Reddy, a close aide of party president Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, and other party leaders and activists for blocking the road.
Police also arrested YSRCP legislators and other leaders and workers in the temple town of Tirupati. CPI and CPI-M activists took out a rally in Anantapur.
Protests were also held in Kadapa, Kurnool, Nellore, Guntur, Ongole, Rajahmundry, Eluru, Srikakulam and other towns.
Leader of the opposition Jaganmohan Reddy said the Telugu Desam Party government had failed to get special status for the state though it shared power at the Centre.
He said the Centre should immediately fulfill the commitment as the delay in doing so had already led to loss of precious lives.
Three persons have committed suicide over the issue. Another person died of heart stroke in Kurnool on Friday.
Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Tuesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to urge him to immediately grant special status to the revenue-deficit state.
The then UPA government had promised special status while dividing Andhra Pradesh to carve out a separate Telangana state.