Andhra Pradesh Pratyeka Hoda Saadhana Samiti is observing a one-day statewide bandh today over the demand of Special Status for the state.
Opposition parties such as the Yuvajana Shramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP), Jana Sena, Congress and the Left parties have also extended their support to the shutdown.
The Left parties are protesting on National Highway 16 which connects Kolkata and Chennai. In the meantime, Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation buses will operate only till Andhra Pradesh state border due to the statewide bandh. However, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), which has been agitating for the Special Category Status and implementation of the provisions of the AP Reorganisation Act, has opposed it and not taking part in the protest.
Reacting to the shutdown call, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said bandhs were not welcome as they hamper development.
The Jagan Reddy-led YSRC hit back, accusing the Chief Minister of adopting ‘double standards’. “When Naidu was the Opposition leader, he had called for bandhs on many occasions, but as a Chief Minister he is now opposing them (bandhs), saying they hinder development,” YSRC political affairs committee member Ambati Rambabu said.
Rambabu said Naidu should understand that bandh was a form of a democratic protest and he had no right to oppose it. The YSRC leader also alleged that the ruling TDP government was threatening those who were supporting the bandh, saying cases would be booked against them. “Why this intimidation? As long as they are peaceful, we will continue all forms of democratic protests,” Rambabu added.
Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu will observe a day-long hunger strike here on his birthday, April 20, in protest against the Centre’s non-cooperation towards the state.
During an event to mark Ambedkar Jayanti in Guntur district, the Chief Minister unveiled the designs of ‘Ambedkar Smriti Van’ to be built in Amravati spreading over 20 acres with a cost of Rs 100 crores.
While addressing the gathering, he announced that he will sit on fast on his birthday i.e., April 20 as part of his fight over the Central government demanding to fulfill assurances made in Rajya Sabha including Special Category Status and provisions of Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act.
The Chief Minister made it clear that he will not compromise on securing interests of the state. The Chief Minister said that a huge public meeting will be organised in Tirupati on April 30 with the theme “Let us save the state from betrayal and conspiracies”.
He appealed to the people of Andhra Pradesh to give the TDP all 25 MP seats to play a crucial role at the Centre. The Chief Minister added that he is fighting against the Centre and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He also said, ”Prime Minister Modi is junior to me in Politics. I became Chief Minister in 1995 whereas Prime Minister Modi became the Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2002.”