Miscreants set fire to the signalling equipment at a railway station in Anantapur district and burnt three jeeps on Sunday, the third day of the bandh in Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions. However, there was an improvement in the situation over the previous day.
Telugu Desam Party leaders, including two MLAs, launched an indefinite hunger strike in Vijayawada demanding that the Centre drop its move to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh. Protesters in Nellore closed the gates of the Kandaleru reservoir of the Telugu Ganga project for the second consecutive day and stopped release of water to Chennai for some time before irrigation officials intervened and re-opened the gates.
Meanwhile, the rift in the 34-member Cabinet widened as Ministers from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema and Telangana regions held separate meetings, where they stuck to their stands. The Ministers from Andhra said they would not backtrack on their decision to resign from the Cabinet, while 11 Ministers and 10 MPs from Telangana wrote a joint letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi to thank her for the Centre’s decision to initiate the process for forming a separate State. Yet, both sides later claimed there were no differences in the Cabinet.
APCC president D. Srinivas dismissed reports that there was a constitutional crisis in Andhra Pradesh following the resignation letters submitted by 138 MLAs and the threat by 20 Ministers to quit. He appealed to the Ministers and the MLAs not to precipitate a crisis by pressing their resignations as the Congress chief would address their concerns.
IOC stockyard damaged
Inspector-General (Law and Order) A.R. Anuradha told journalists that about 20 people came on motorcycles and burnt the signal and relay systems at the Challavaripalli railway station in Anantapur district. Miscreants damaged a stockyard of the Indian Oil Corporation at Guntakal, also in Anantapur district. Three jeeps were set ablaze — two in Kadapa and one in Anantapur — while 24 people were arrested. Trains were stopped at three places — the Puri-Tirupati Express at Poondi in Srikakulam; the Howrah Express at Srikalahasti; and another train in Kadapa district.
Ms. Anuradha said no permission had been given to Congress MP from Vijayawada Lagadapati Rajagopal to begin a fast in the city and the police were watching the situation closely. Telangana Rashtra Samithi and Telangana Congress leaders lodged complaints that anti-social elements were likely to create trouble if the MP was allowed to launch a fast.
ODI not to be disturbed
Representatives of political parties assured the Andhra Cricket Association that they would not disturb the one-day international (ODI) cricket match between India and Sri Lanka scheduled to be held in Visakhapatnam on December 18. Tirupati town witnessed tension as Congress leaders protested against the arrest of C. Bhaskar Reddy, an ex-officio member of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, in connection with the torching of RTC buses on Friday.