Hyderabad, Oct 4 (PTI): Normal life was paralysed in Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions of Andhra Pradesh as the 48-hour bandh in protest against the Union Cabinet’s decision to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh began this morning.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy has convened an emergency meeting this afternoon with ministers, MPs, MLCs and MLAs from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema to discuss the developments following the Cabinet’s decision.
The united-Andhra supporters blocked highways and enforced closure of shops and other commercial establishments and educational institutions in the two regions.
The protesters organised rallies and sit-ins at important junctions at several towns.
The pro-united Andhra employees of Andhra Pradesh government, including the staff of state-run Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC), have already been on strike since mid-August.
Sporadic incidents of public and private property, including offices of ruling Congress, being attacked also came in from districts like Srikakulam, Kadapa and Chittoor.
The 48-hour shut down was called by the Andhra Pradesh Non-Gazetted Officers (APNGOs) and other united-Andhra supporters. YSR Congress called for a 72-hour bandh separately.
A clash took place in Anantapur district between the workers of TDP and YSR Congress in the town. TDP MLA Paritala Sunita alleged that YSRCP activists tried to stop them during a protest and also threw stones.
Union HRD Minister M M Pallam Raju and filmstar-turned- politician and Tourism Minister Chiranjeevi have offered to quit protesting the Cabinet decision last night.
Media reports said some Congress MPs and other senior leader are contemplating quitting the Congress in protest against the move to divide Andhra Pradesh.
A report from Visakhapatnam said the transport system in the district was badly affected as all 1,060 APSRTC buses were off roads and confined to depots.
The agitators blocked the national highways at various places in the district by squatting on the main roads and not allowing even private vehicles to move there.
The Samaikhyandhra agitators in Elamanchili blocked the Chennai-Kolkata national highway and vehicles were stranded on a four-km stretch between Anakapalli and Elamanchili.
The agitators also squatted on rail track at Elamanchili to prevent the movement of trains.
All offices working under the Andhra Pradesh Easter Power Distribution company Limited remained closed in the district today.
Also, tension prevailed at the Satya Degree College, belonging to APCC president B Satyanarayana, at Vizianagaram when some agitators damaged glass panes at the premises and furniture while demanding his resignation.
According to police, security has been beefed up in the entire district in view of the bandh.
Police pickets were posted at vulnerable points to maintain law and order.