United Andhra Pradesh protagonists, on Wednesday, ensured an effective bandh on the first day of the 72-hour general strike by stopping RTC bus services and closing all shops and establishments.
Traffic on National Highway No.5 and No.9 came to a halt at Benz Circle with Student Joint Action Committee leaders, employees’ associations and members of political parties taking part in the bandh that was organised in protest against the proposed division of the State. Dharnas, human chains, protests marked the day. Lawyers boycotted courts. However, no untoward incidents were reported till noon.
All educational institutions, including schools, banks, and government offices remained closed. Majority of the shopkeepers on Bandar and Eluru Roads downed their shutters. The Besant Road, a commercial hub, was completely closed.
Initially, the APSRTC plied buses in the morning, but by noon agitators stopped city and long-distance services. There was no hindrance to traffic on the Bandar Road except when the agitators held a rasta roko.
College students staged rasta roko at Benz Circle, Siddhartha Junction near P. B. Siddhartha College and other places.
Congress party leaders such as former PCC secretary Kolunakonda Sivaji were out on the streets and some formed a human chain near Police Control Room. Congress leader Adapa Nagendra said that he was ready to sacrifice his post to keep the state united. Except for second-rung leaders, former corporators, Congress city and District presidents, no other senior Congress leader or MLAs were seen on the roads. Security in front of the houses of elected representatives was beefed up. Meesala Rajeswara Rao, former Mayor M.V. Ratna Bindu and others took part in the agitation.
The YSR Congress Party leaders performed pala abhishekam (anointing with milk) to Potti Sriramulu statue near Prakasam Barrage. The YSR Congress leaders Jaleel Khan, Vangaveeti Radha, Gowtham Reddy Tadi Sakuntala and others blamed the Congress for the pathetic situation and raised slogans against AICC president Sonia Gandhi, PCC president Botcha Satyarnarayana.
Major opposition party, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leaders were not seen anywhere.