Telugu Desam Party MLAs from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions on Tuesday pressed Assembly Speaker N. Kiran Kumar Reddy to accept their letters of resignation that had been submitted earlier.
About two dozen party MLAs from the regions led by P. Ashok Gajapati Raju met the Speaker who reportedly explained to them the formalities to be followed to give his consent and his efforts to obtain the Advocate General’s opinion.
Their demands come amidst pressure being mounted on TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu by MLAs from Telangana to constitute a separate committee for the region. Opposing such a move, the TDP’s floor leader in the Legislative Council D. Veerabhadra Rao said such a split-up of the party would go against the principles of its founding leader N.T. Rama Rao.
Meanwhile, tensions mounted once again in the Rayalaseema region. Police resorted to lathi-charge on students of the Sri Krishna Devaraya University who earlier, pelted stones at them. The provocation for the violence by students was the arrest of their leaders prior to that. Enraged at the injuries sustained by some of them in the stone-pelting, police chased the students inside the university campus and wielded their lathis severely injuring nearly 10 students.
The police lathi-charge found an instant echo in Hyderabad where Telugu Desam MLAs from Anantapur district staged a flash demonstration inside the Secretariat demanding action against the Superintendent of Police and other senior officials. Chief Minister K. Rosaiah assured them that the police would be asked to observe restraint while dealing with the students.
There was a bout of violence in Kadapa district after police forcibly removed Y.S. Vivekananda Reddy, MLC and brother of former Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, when he staged an impromptu dharna near the statue of Potti Sriramulu in Hyderabad.
Protesting against the police action, people went on a rampage in Kadapa district. They targeted the State and Central government offices in Pulivendula, Badvel and other places. They set on fire a BSNL cell tower in Lomada in Chakarayapet mandal and the Mandal Agriculture office, besides ransacking a post office, and MPDO and a branch of the State Bank of India at other places.
Unknown persons broke the glass panes and poured petrol through a window into the hall of the Kadapa Bar Association in the Kadapa district court premises on Monday night. A total bandh was enforced in Kadapa today and normal life was thrown out of gear. Political parties, workers and students’ organisations and advocates took out rallies in support of a united Andhra Pradesh and burnt effigies of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Union Home Minister P. Chidamabaram and Telangana Rashtra Samithi president K. Chandrasekhar Rao near the Collectorate.
Meanwhile, in Vijayawada, the movement in favour of a united Andhra Pradesh gathered momentum in coastal districts, even as local MP Lagadapati Rajagopal, who was arrested twice by the Hyderabad police on Monday, reached here early on Tuesday and kicked off his indefinite fast at Swaraj Maidan on the arterial Mahatma Gandhi road.
Mr. Rajagopal told reporters that he was “undemocratically” disallowed from exercising his right to protest in the State capital, but was determined to carry forward his agitation. Along with a large number of his followers, he walked from his Moghalrajapuram residence to Swaraj Maidan before commencing the fast across the venue where five Telugu Desam leaders were already on a fast-unto-death.
The day witnessed a spate of protests and agitations, as activists of the Joint Action Committee formed with the leaders of the Congress, Telugu Desam, Praja Rajyam, Lok Satta and a few other parties laid siege to National Highway-5 (Howrah-Chennai) and NH-9 (Vijayawada-Hyderabad) as part of a declared programme. Long-distance traffic came to a halt at Kanakadurgamma Vaaradhi junction, where NH-5 and NH-9 converge.