Normal life was disrupted in Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions today with a shut-down clamped in the two regions against the decision of the Congress and the UPA to create the Telangana state out of Andhra Pradesh.
As per reports, at least four ministers from Andhra Pradesh had handed over resignations to chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy protesting the Congress party's decision to create a new Telangana state. Six party MLAs have also quit.
Educational institutions and commercial establishments remained closed with the services of state-run Andhra Pradesh Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) suspended in Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra districts like Kadapa, Chittoor, Visakhapatnam and Krishna.
The shutdown was enforced by different outfits supporting united Andhra in the region against the decision of Congress to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh.
No major incident of violence was reported from the two regions till the morning hours, though the decision led to disappointment across the two regions.
Meanwhile, the third and final phase of the ongoing gram panchayat elections got underway at 7 am across different districts of Andhra Pradesh and polling was reported to be peaceful by and large, barring minor skirmishes, according to official sources.
While the decision was welcomed by pro-Telangana supporters, those opposed described the move as suicidal.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee condemning the UPA government for endorsing statehood to Telangana, called the decision "divisive politics". She also wrote to prime minister Manmohan Singh asking for the reasons behind the decision.
Meanwhile, TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu has called on the centre to develop a city on par with Hyderabad as the capital of Andhra Pradesh with the formation of Telangana.
According to the CPI (M), the decision to create Telangana seemed to have been impelled by the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. The party added, it would give a fillip to demands for separate states in other places.
According to Congress leader Digvijay Singh, there was nothing wrong in having Hyderabad as joint capital for the two states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
He said decision was also in favour of Rayalaseema and Andhra so that both could progress and be self-reliant.
Until a new capital was formed for Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad would be capital of both states, he said.
Jagdambika Pal of the Congress said the decision should be welcomed by BJP and Narendra Modi. He added they should not question the delay, or intentions behind the decision.