Support gathers for Andhra Pradesh bandh tomorrow
- Chief minister Jagan Mohan Reddy-led ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) has criticised the Centre’s step of privatising the steel plant.
Several trade unions in Andhra Pradesh have called for a state-wide shutdown on Friday to intensify their agitation against the privatisation of the Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL). The Centre of Indian Trade Union (CITU) leaders also released posters on the Andhra Pradesh bandh, proposed by the Steel Plant Parirakshana Porata Committee on Tuesday.
Tuhin Kanta Pandey, the secretary of the department of investment and public asset management, announced last month that the cabinet committee of economic affairs had cleared the privatisation of RINL, which is the corporate entity of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant that employs around 34,000 people.
Support for the bandh
In a joint statement, the CPI(M), CPI and CPI-ML on Monday extended their support to the Andhra Pradesh bandh. Visakha Ukku Parirakshana Porata Committee will also be supporting the bandh. Forum for Development of North Andhra (FDNA) has also appealed to the people to extend total support to the bandh. State’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) unit has, however, refrained from supporting the shutdown.
Politics before the bandh
Chief minister Jagan Mohan Reddy-led ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) has criticised the Centre’s step of privatising the steel plant. CM Reddy announced on Wednesday that the state assembly would adopt a resolution requesting the Centre to drop its proposal to privatise the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant. Opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has also criticised the central government for the same. BJP’s alliance partner in the state, Jana Sena, has also expressed concern over the privatisation.
On 26 February, the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant Parirakshana Committee held a statewide road blockade in which hundreds of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant employees and supporters participated. The ‘rasta roko’ began at 11am and concluded at 1pm. Holding black flags, the protesters raised slogans of “Save Steel Plant” and “Visakha Ukku, Andhrula Hakku” and staged a road blockade on the national highway, at the VSP gate in Kurmannapalem.