Expect the unexpected from Lagadapati Rajagopal. On Thursday, the Vijayawada MP shocked India when he used pepper spray in the Lok Sabha as a strategy to stop the introduction of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, 2013.

But for the people of his constituency, it was no surprise. Many were reminded of his fast on the PWD grounds here in 2009 and a dramatic vanishing act from there to reappear in NIIMS Hospital in Hyderabad the next day.

However, Siddharth Marupeddi, a final year student of an engineering college here, said the scene in Parliament reminded him of The Hindu advertisement video showing MPs coming to blows and papers flying inside the House.

He said Mr. Rajagopal should have chosen a better democratic means of protest. “While the intent of the MP was good, the means he used cannot be supported,” he said.

He was critical of YSR Congress leader Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, MP, supporting Mr. Rajagopal’s action in Parliament.

While going to the Well of the House for protests had become a norm, using pepper spray is uncalled-for, Tunika Kiranmayi, a homemaker, said. She felt the action would deal a severe blow to the united Andhra Pradesh movement.

“Fall in values”

The former Rajya Sabha member, Yelamanchili Shivaji, recalled the excellent legacy of Vijayawada MPs Harindranath Chatopadhyaya (1952), K.L. Rao, and G. Murahari (former Deputy Speaker), and said that he was appalled at Mr. Rajagopal’s act. “What a fall in values,” he bemoaned.

From the Congress ranks and government employees, strong support came in for Mr. Rajagopal’s action, but many from his own party criticised his antics.