Normal life came to a grinding halt in all 13 districts of Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions on Friday to protest the Union cabinet's approval to a draft bill for formation of separate Telangana state.
Transport services were paralysed as over 12,000 buses of state-owned Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) went off the roads in Seemandhra, as the two regions are together known.
Shops, petrol bunks, business establishments and education institutions were shut in response to the shutdown called by YSR Congress party and Andhra Pradesh Non-Gazetted Officers (APNGOs) Association. The MPs of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) have also given a call for 48-hour shutdown.
Political activists, public representatives, government employees, students and other sections of people took to streets since early morning in all nine districts of coastal Andhra and four districts of Rayalaseema. They were seen enforcing the shutdown and staging road blockades.
The shutdown was total in major towns like Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Guntur, Nellore, Tirupati, Kurnool and Anantapur.
Police and paramilitary forces were deployed in Seemandhra to maintain peace. Police sounded high alert Thursday night after the union cabinet approved draft Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill for carving out separate Telangana state.
Parties opposing the bifurcation have reacted strongly to the cabinet approval. YSR Congress party chief YS Jaganmohan Reddy called for the shutdown and said the decision would spell doom for the two regions. Police stepped up security at the residences of central and state ministers, MPs and state legislators.
Seemandhra had witnessed massive protests after July 30 decision of the Congress Working Committee to carve out Telangana state. Over six lakh government employees, APSRTC workers and teachers were on strike for nearly two months.