Shops remain open on Eluru Road and Bandar Road; YSRC activists take out rallies
The day-long bandh call given by YSR Congress Party on Wednesday, protesting passage of the A.P. Reorganisation Bill 2013 generated lukewarm response in the city. Business was as usual in majority of the places. Banks and big shopping malls on the two arterial roads remained closed.
Shops and establishments in other parts of the city like Eluru Road and Bandar Road, however, remained open and functioned normally.
In a few areas, where the YSR Congress leaders and activists took out rallies, shutters were forcibly downed by the party workers for a brief period, only to reopen after a couple of minutes. But government offices such as post offices and BSNL remained closed.
APSRTC buses plied throughout the city on all routes, expect for brief halts, on account of rasta roko staged by the party workers at certain pockets. The bandh did not have any effect on other means of public transport such as autos.
The Vijayawada (East) constituency in-charge Vangaveeti Radha organised a bike rally on the Bandar Road and a rasta roko at Benz Circle for about 20 minutes. Earlier, students from a few schools participated in a silent march on the M.G. Road.
The party’s Vijayawada (Central) Constituency in-charge P. Gowtham Reddy organised a rasta roko on the BRTS Road and burnt flexies with pictures of Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde. He also organised a bike rally from BRTS Road to Satyanarayanapuram via Eluru Road.
The party’s city convenor Jaleel organised rallies in the One Town area and closed down government establishments such as post offices and public sector banks. “We are vexed with the bandh calls frequently.
The division is inevitable and so let’s live with the reality,” said Ch. Pitchaiah, a kirana shop owner on the Eluru Road.
The response to bandh was total and complete in the district. Most of the commercial establishments, banks and schools remained closed. Scores of students, political leaders, traders and employees participated in the bandh organising sit-in protests, dharnas and rallies opposing division of the State.
Protesters stopped APSRTC buses at Guntur and other towns. In some depots, the RTC employees abstained duties and voluntarily participated in the bandh.
The leaders blamed the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party for splitting the State.
They criticised the UPA government for ignoring the agitations spread over 200 days in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema districts.
Activists of Telugu Desam and YSR Congress parties organised rallies at different places enforcing bandh. City convener of YSRC Lella Appireddy led the protests with a rally of his supporters while Telugu Desam general secretary Mannam Subba Rao staged a sit-in at Sankar Vilas Centre.
Except for a few sporadic instances, including deflating tyres of a couple of RTC buses near bus station complex, the bandh passed off peacefully as a heavy contingent of police and paramilitary forces kept a close watch on the activists.
Leaders of YSRC and Telugu Desam parties went round the main roads, organised bike rallies enforcing bandh. Traders, educational institutions, hotels, petrol bunks, shops and other establishment owners downed their shutters voluntarily.
A few party leaders blamed the UPA government for passing the A.P. State Reorganisation Bill in Lok Sabha.
Police forcibly removed the TDP workers when they staged a sit-in on the main road at Arundelpet and cleared the traffic.
The protesters burnt the effigies of political leaders and expressed their ire at them for failing to prevent division of the State.