Mixed response to shutdown call in Andhra Pradesh
The shutdown was near total in parts of Rayalaseema region, but partial in Telangana and coastal Andhra Pradesh regions.
Police arrested a large number of YSR Congress party leaders and activists in and around Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Kadapa, Karimnagar, Nizamabad, Kurnool, Anantapur and other places for trying to forcibly close shops and educational institutions and for blocking roads.
The shutdown call evoked little response in Hyderabad, where buses of the state-owned Road Transport Corporation (RTC) plied normally. Shops and business establishments worked as usual. Work in the information technology companies too remained unaffected.
In Khammam, Srikakulam, Kadapa, Anantapur, parts of Nellore and Kurnool, shops and business establishments, schools and colleges remained closed. People staged protests outside RTC depots to prevent buses from moving.
YSR Congress claimed that the bandh was near total across the state. Its spokesman Vasireddy Padma told reporters in Hyderabad that all sections of people were voluntarily participating in the strike.
She accused the police of resorting to indiscriminate arrests of party leaders and activists to foil the bandh. She said party legislators and other top leaders were either arrested or kept under house arrest since Thursday night.
Over 200 workers of the party were arrested in Karimnagar district. The arrests led to tension in Kadapa district's Pulivendula, the assembly constituency represented by YSR party honorary president Y.S. Vijayalaxmi.
The state is witnessing unprecedented shortage of electricity. Power distribution companies have imposed three- to six-hour power cuts daily on domestic users in cities and towns. In the villages, the supply of electricity is restricted to the farm sector.
Electricity distribution companies have declared a three-day "power holiday" in a week for industries.
Opposition parties alleged that the power cuts badly hit the agriculture sector. They claimed that farmers were getting less than seven hours of power supply each day.