Chaos in Andhra Assembly, bandh in Seemandhra over bifurcation

Three Congress MPs from Seemandhra region began a two-day fast here Friday demanding the central government stop the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.

IANS| Updated: Jan 03, 2014, 19:26 PM IST

Hyderabad: Legislators from Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema stalled the proceedings in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly, which resumed its sitting Friday after a break, reiterating their opposition to the division of the State even as a bandh was observed in the two regions.

The Lower House, expected to take up debate on the draft Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, 2013, after a two-week break, was adjourned for the day by Speaker Nadendla Manohar, whose repeated appeals to the agitating members for order fell into deaf ears.

As soon as the Assembly met, the Seemandhra MLAs were on their feet, and later gathered around the Speaker`s podium and raised slogans in support of keeping the state united. Two adjournments by Manohar did not help matters and the Assembly was adjourned for the day.

Even as noisy scenes were witnessed in the Assembly, bandh was observed in Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema against the House taking up debate on the Bill, which seeks to create Telangana state. The draft legislation, sent by the President last month, is returnable by January 23.

Activists of TDP, YSR Congress and the Andhra Pradesh Non-Gazetted Officers (APNGOs) association, who are in the forefront of the agitation against division of the state, organised protests in the two regions.

Schools, colleges and commercial establishments remained shut at many places and the services of state-run Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corp (APSRTC) remained suspended.

The shutdown evoked partial response at places such as Vijayawada where the bus services were restored by afternoon and educational institutions functioned normally.

Stepping up their campaign against division of Andhra Pradesh, Congress MPs from Seemandhra, including L Rajagopal, Sabbam Hari and G V Harsha Kumar, who had served a notice to move no-trust motion against the UPA Government during winter session of Parliament last month, began a two-day fast here.

Meanwhile, the political storm over Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy divesting D Sridhar Babu, who belongs to Telangana, of the Legislative Affairs portfolio refused to die down.
Sridhar, who sent his resignation to Kiran yesterday, said he has put in his papers not for any personal reasons but as a mark of protest against the alleged moves to block the formation of separate Telangana.

Recalling that the Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy had earlier agreed to abide by the Congress high command`s decision on the division issue, Sridhar said he should keep his word now.

Taking exception to the Chief Minister taking away the Legislative Affairs portfolio from Sridhar, Telangana MLAs from all parties held a meeting in Hyderabad.

In Krishna district, the bandh call received partial response. The bandh supporters, including APNGO leaders and political workers, held a sit-in at APSRTC bus stand in Vijayawada and blocked the traffic for about two hours in the morning.

Most of the educational institutions in the district remained open and management were also not willing to declare a holiday today as annual examinations were approaching fast and they were busy in completing the syllabus.

Shops and other establishments in busy localities were closed but remained open in other places. The APNGOs association has asked its members to boycott their offices.
A report from Rajahmundry said normal life was affected as bus services were suspended in East Godavari district with workers of YSRCP, TDP, Congress and APNGOs as well holding demonstrations in front of the?bus depots.

Some banks had declared holiday today while business establishment and government offices remained closed in the coastal district.