The state-wide bandh called by political parties in Andhra Pradesh to protest against the "anti-Andhra" Union Budget for 2018 evoked strong response in north coastal Andhra Pradesh, particularly Vizag city, today.
Perhaps uniquely, the shut-down or bandh, originally called by the Left parties, was supported across the political spectrum, including the ruling Telugu Desam Party and even the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The Congress, the YSRCP, and the Janasena also supported the bandh.
Activities at commercial establishments and government offices came to a halt, while the government has declared holiday for the schools.
In all the major cities including Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam and Tirupati, the protestors came on to the roads since morning displaying placards demanding ''justice'' for AP, but no violent incidents were reported.
The issue of grant of special status to Andhra Pradesh also today rocked the Rajya Sabha today as the opposition created uproar over the issue, forcing Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu to adjourn the House till afternoon.
''Rs1800 crore is what the govt gave specifically to #AndhraPradesh in budget & (popular movie) Baahubali's collection is more than that. We received less than what a movie collected. If they can treat their allies like this then many people will not want to be their allies in future,'' tweeted Jayadev Galla of the TDP.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) state leader Ch Narasinga Rao alleged that the Centre allocated huge sums to other states but left AP to its fate, while CPI state leader J V Satyanarayana Murty said they held the bandh against the Centre for the "injustice" meted out to Andhra Pradesh.
The national highway at various places in the state was blocked by the activists. People from all walks of lives have extended their support to the bandh.
Opposition parties have been protesting the "injustice" done to the state in the Union Budget 2018-19 and the Centre's failure to implement the Andhra Pradesh Act in letter and spirit.
The Act deals with a host of issues like division of assets and liabilities of institutions between AP and Telangana and release of funds for Polavaram project and other schemes in Andhra Pradesh after its bifurcation.
Thin attendance was reported in government offices and public sector undertakings like Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, Visakhapatnam Port Trust, National Thermal Power Corp and Hindustan Shipyard.
Police arrested hundreds of cadres and leaders of left parties and others who were staging protests in front of various bus depots across the state. Intermediate practical exam scheduled to be held on Thursday has been postponed to 22 February.
The Andhra University (AU) announced suspension of classes to avoid inconvenience to students.
Road Transport Corp buses were not plying in all the 13 districts of the AP. Only buses to Tirumala Hills were plying. Around 200 buses are ferrying the devotees to Tirupati, while the authorities concerned in the transport wing have not given permission to the other state buses as a precautionary measure to avoid untoward incidents.
All the outstation buses and night halt are diverted to the depots at various places.
YSRCP president Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy took a break from his walkathon to participate in the protests.