Zee Media Bureau
Hyderabad: Seemandhra was on Friday rocked by protests and shutdown as some central ministers and MPs from Andhra Pradesh announced their resignation to protest against the cabinet approval for the formation of a separate Telangana state.
HRD Minister MM Pallam Raju, who on Thursday held back his resignation, announced his decision to go ahead with it ignoring Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s counsel not to take any hasty step.
Kotla Surya Prakash Reddy, MoS Railways and son of late Rayalaseema stalwart K Vijayabhaskar Reddy, also said he met the Prime Minister and gave his resignation. Singh advised him against taking any "emotional step", according to him.
Other Ministers K Sambasiva Rao (Textiles), K Chiranjeevi (Tourism), D Purandeswari (MoS Commerce) and Killi Kruparani (MoS IT and Communications) are also understood to have resigned, according to their aides.
Congress MPs, who had already resigned from the Lok Sabha on Telangana issue, have now threatened to quit the party. They include R Sambasiva Rao, Ananta Venkatarami Reddy, Sabbam Hari and Vundavali Arun Kumar.
At a press conference in Delhi, Sambasiva Rao accused the Congress of doing injustice to Telugus and even praised BJP`s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
YSR Congress president YS Jaganmohan Reddy announced he would go on an indefinite fast here from Saturday while state ministers and Congress legislators from Seemandhra decided not to quit so that they can defeat a Telangana resolution in the assembly.
Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president and former Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu said he will be going on an indefinite fast in Delhi from Monday to demand the central government do justice to people of Seemandhra before taking any step to divide Andhra Pradesh.
Barring stray incidents of violence, the first day of the 48-hour shutdown called by various groups opposing state`s division, passed off peacefully.
Additional central paramilitary forces will be deployed in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema districts from Saturday.
With supporters of united Andhra Pradesh and members of various organisations and different political parties intensifying their ongoing protests in Seemandhra region of the state by observing bandh and resorting to violence in some districts, it was decided for requisition of additional forces, a senior police officer said.
Vijayanagaram remained tense as protestors were continuing their sit-in at the camp office of state Congress chief Botsa Satyanrayana. Police had earlier used teargas shells to disperse protestors who attacked the camp office and also damaged police vehicles.
Electricity generation came to a halt at power plants in Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam as employees joined the 48-hour strike. Officials said this could affect the electricity supply to some districts.
Normal life in all 13 districts of Seemandhra, as Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra are together known, came to a halt. Shops, businesses, transport and educational institutions were closed in all towns.
Opposing the state`s division, protestors took to the streets forcing closure of hotels and shops and burning tyres on main roads. They erected road blocks on state and national highways, halting all traffic.
Vehicular traffic from and to the neighbouring states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Odisha came to a halt.
While buses of the state-owned transport corporation are off the roads for nearly two months due to the indefinite strike by employees, private vehicles were also taken off due to the shutdown, causing hardships to commuters.
More than six lakh government employees, teachers and workers are on strike since Aug 13. Their leader P Ashok Babu threatened to intensify the strike.
Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy Friday reviewed the law and order situation and directed police to handle the situation carefully.
Kiran Reddy directed police not to use even rubber bullets. "However they should protect the government and private properties and maintain peace and tranquility without allowing violence," said a statement from the chief minister`s office.
State police have sought 20 companies of paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) from the central government for deployment in Seemandhra, sources said. As many as 45 companies of paramilitary forces were already deployed.
Jaganmohan Reddy said he would launch an indefinite fast in Hyderabad from Saturday. Jagan, as the MP from Kadapa is popularly known, accused the Congress of dividing the state to earn votes in elections.
Congress MP V Hanumantha Rao and leaders of some Telangana groups met police chief Prasada Rao and urged him not to give permission for his fast. Telangana lawyers` Joint Action Committee has threatened to disrupt Jagan`s fast.
With agency inputs