Protests against the UPA decision to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh intensified in Vijayawada on Thursday with workers from industrial units in Autonagar ‘hanging’ the effigy of TRS chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao and setting it on fire on Bandar Road.

The traffic at Benz Circle, meeting point of National Highway No.5 and No.9, came to grinding halt for long hours with students forming human chains. The protests continued at various places on Bandar Road and Eluru Road. All educational institutions, including schools, Government offices and majority of the banks, remained closed.

YSR Congress Party activists led by P. Gowtham Reddy targeted Vijayawada MP Lagadapati Rajagopal’s residence in Mogalrajpuram. The police, however, foiled their attempts to barge into the residence. They squatted on the road and raised slogans that Mr. Rajagopal betrayed the people. It sparked objection from the MP’s followers. A wordy duel ensued between them and YSR Congress activists. The police bodily lifted the protestors and shifted to police station.

Most of the shopkeepers on Bandar and Eluru Roads voluntarily downed their shutters on the second day of the bandh. One odd shop was opened past noon. The APSRTC plied buses cautiously and ran very few services both in the city and to other towns in the district.

The Samaikhyandhra Student JAC leaders rallied students from various colleges onto the main roads and raised slogans and organised rasta rooks. The office of Secondary Education Minister Kolusu Parthasarathy was scheduled to be picketed in the evening. However, no untoward incident was reported.

The protests, however, were carried out under different banners and spread across the city. Heavy presence of police was seen near the residences of MP and MLAs. Majority of large showrooms were closed and police force was deployed at the petrol pumps (which functioned normally) and in front of All India Radio studios.

Later, members of Bezwada Bar Association (BBA), who took out a rally from the court, submitted a memorandum at the MP office urging him to lead Samaikyandhra agitation.