The movement in favour of a united Andhra Pradesh continued to gather 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 sitting on 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 the NH-5 and the NH-9 converge.
The protestors earlier paid tributes to Potti Sriramulu, the Gandhian who died on this day in 1952 at the end of a 58-day fast that led to the carving out of Andhra State from the erstwhile Madras Presidency. They vowed to sacrifice their lives for keeping Andhra Pradesh united.
With the Joint Action Committee withdrawing the call for bandh that it had earlier given, trade and other activities resumed in the city.