YSR Congress chief Jagan Mohan Reddy took his anti-Congress tirade to a new high on Saturday when, without naming her, he blamed Congress President Sonia Gandhi for dividing Andhra Pradesh.
Supporters of united Andhra Pradesh block a road during a protest against the formation of a separate Telangana state, in Ananthapuram. (AFP Photo)
The 40-year-old leader, who went on an indefinite hunger strike against the Centre’s clearance for Telangana state, said the state was divided because “someone wanted their son to become Prime Minister”.
Jagan said he will move the Supreme Court against the Centre’s decision because the division involved “legal problems”, while reiterating the government can undo the decision like the ordinance to disqualify convicted law makers was withdrawn after intervention by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi.
The Andhra leader, who broke away from Congress to start his own party and is now asserting a central role in the raging anti-Telangana agitation, was greeted by thousands of supporters as he began the fast.
His indefinite fast for the same cause had been foiled last month by officials at Chanchalguda jail, where he was lodged as an undertrial in a disproportionate assets case.
Police confront supporters of united Andhra Pradesh during a protest against the formation of Telangana state, in Kurnool district some 200 kms from Hyderabad. (AFP Photo)
Seemandhra meanwhile sizzled for the second day on Saturday against the bifurcation decision, with united-Andhra supporters blocking state and national highways and disrupting traffic to neighbouring states.
Educational institutions remained closed in all 13 districts of Seemandhra, as Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra are collectively called.
Andhra Pradesh Non-Gazetted Officers (APNGOs) and other united-AP supporters have called for a 48-hour bandh, while Jagan-led YSRCP has called for a 72-hour shut-down in the non-Telangana regions.
Dwaraka Tirumala Rao, Inspector General (Coastal Andhra), said police had deployed additional forces in view of attacks on Congress offices and residences and properties of some Congress leaders, including state Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana, on Friday.
"Situation is under control. As long as agitations are peaceful we have no objection. But if they turn violent then we will swing into action and file cases," Rao said.
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The pro-united Andhra employees, including the staff of state-run Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC), are already on strike since mid-August. The pilgrim town of Tirupati wore a deserted look as APSRTC buses are not plying in the area.
TDP President N Chandrababu Naidu has announced an indefinite fast in New Delhi from Monday demanding "justice" for Seemandhra.
In Vizianagaram city, police lobbed teargas shells to disperse agitators who hurled stones.
Rallies, road blockades and other protests were witnessed in Vishakhapatnam district. Schools and shops remained shut.
At Rajahmundry town, tension prevailed when some APNGOs activists allegeldy damaged a hoarding of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Protesters tried to block roads by burning tyres at various places in the district. Shops, petrol pumps, banks, educational institutions remained closed for the second day.