In a late night development, YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy, who has been on indefinite hunger strike against the Telangana decision from October 5, was taken into preventive custody in Hyderabad. Reddy, whose health has been deteriorating, was taken to a hospital.
"We lifted him (from his residence Lotus Pond in posh Jubillee Hills in the city where Jagan was on fast) and are taking him to Nizam Institute for Medical Sciences (NIMS) Hospital on doctors' advice," said DCP (west zone) V Satyanarayana.
A team of policemen swooped on Jagan's house at around 11pm, demolishing the barricades set up by his supporters around his fast venue, and bodily lifted him before putting him into an ambulance and taking him straight to the hospital.
There was no resistance from Jagan's supporters at the time of the police action.
YSRCP senior leader Konatala Ramakrishna said "we wanted Jagan to call off his fast and again lead the party". Doctors, who examined Jagan earlier today, advised him to call off the hunger strike as his sugar level was falling, Ramakrishna told reporters in Hyderabad.
Jagan launched his indefinite fast on October 5 to press for a unified Andhra Pradesh. He had undertaken a hunger strike when he was in a jail in Hyderabad last month on the Telangana issue.
Konatala said Jagan has appealed to all parties to join hands in keeping the state united as the division is aimed at short-term political gains being "engineered by Congress and Sonia Gandhi to make Rahul Gandhi the prime minister".
Earlier in the day, the Congress conceded that the situation is “very complex” but backed its Andhra Pradesh chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, who has been accused of playing a less-than active role in dousing the anger against the split.
The group of ministers formed to work out the details of the bifurcation will meet for the first time on Friday.
The Centre had anticipated “turbulence” over its Telangana decision but genuine grievances, too, had been made part of larger political interests, a source travelling with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Brunei said.
Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh, who is in charge of Andhra, ruled out removal of Reddy, saying the CM had a “very difficult task at a very difficult moment” to handle.
The state, however, continues to battle a power crisis. Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions -- which have together come to be known as Seemandhra ­-- were again without power for 12 hours on Wednesday. To add to the problems, all state departments were put on high alert in view of the cyclone threat along north-coastal Andhra and Odisha.
The power situation is unlikely to improve as the talks between striking electricity department employees, opposed to Telangana, and the CM failed. Reddy assured them that the state would not be divided till he was the CM, the employees said.
Power shortage continues to affect services such as hospitals, banks, petrol pumps and even water supply, though supply was restored in more areas.
In Nellore, suspected ammonia gas leak left 100 people ill and many were being treated out in the open as the local hospital didn’t have power.
Meanwhile, a cyclone alert was sounded in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday which continues to be battered by the Telangana storm, with many parts of the state going without power for the fourth day running and the Centre staying firm on bifurcation plan.