The agitation was launched for keeping the State united

In a significant development, Seemandhra leaders from the Congress and the Telugu Desam have decided to join the agitation being launched by employees for keeping the State united and gave a call for bandh on January 3 jointly with APNGOs association leader P. Ashok Babu.

The date for the shutdown coincides with the resumption of the Assembly session when the debate on the AP Reorganisation Bill would be taken up.

The agitation programme was announced after a meeting between representatives of ‘Samaikya Rashtra Parirakshana Vedika’ and various political parties here on Saturday. Leaders of the Congress, TDP and Samajwadi party attended the meeting, while Lok Satta reportedly agreed to participate in the protests. This was the second round of meeting with the political parties.

Talking to reporters later, Mr. Ashok Babu, along with Minister Sailajanath, TDP leader S. Chandramohan Reddy and Jagdish Yadav of the Samajwadi Party, announced that the agitation would be kick-started with a public meeting in Visakhapatnam on January 2.

During the Assembly session, TDP and Congress MLAs from Seemandhra would oppose the Telangana Bill and also submit affidavits to Speaker N. Manohar favouring a united State. On December 10, resolutions would be adopted in every gram panchayat in the Seemandhra region opposing division of the State. Each day from January 3 to 10, relay fasts would be undertaken by various sections, including students, farmers, government employees and women in every constituency.

Mr. Ashok Babu said that they would meet President Pranab Mukherjee twice -- first to submit gram panchayat resolutions and subsequently to give legislators’ affidavits after January 23.

Mr. Sailajanath appealed to all political parties supporting the cause of united Andhra Pradesh to come together on to a single platform and rise above political affiliationsMr. Chandramohan Reddy said TDP MPs, MLAS and other leaders would participate in all programmes without any compromise on keeping the State united.