Hyderabad/New Delhi: The sprawling Seemandhra region was crippled for yet another day yesterday, with many areas enveloped in darkness and the railways cancelling several trains due to unending protests against the creation of Telangana state.
And even as YSR Congress party chief Y S Jaganmohan Reddy’s fast in Hyderabad against Andhra Pradesh’s bifurcation entered the third day, TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu launched a protest fast in New Delhi.
Naidu accused the Congress of playing politics over Telangana but did not say if he favoured a united Andhra Pradesh, simply saying that he wanted “justice” for both regions.
Also in New Delhi, four central ministers from Seemandhra met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and urged him to accept the resignations they gave after the cabinet decided to carve out a Telangana state.
Manmohan Singh sought more time to decide after meeting cabinet minister Pallam Raju and ministers of state K Chiranjeevi, D Purandeswari and K Suryaprakash Reddy.
Purandeswari said they had told Singh they would not attend offices from today to respect the feelings of the people of Seemandhra, which covers the Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, who too opposes the state’s division, told some television channels that he didn’t rule out stepping down.
Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde assured the people of Seemandhra that their concerns would be addressed.
Over 600,000 government employees in Seemandhra continued their nearly two-month-long strike, while the strike by electricity workers entered its second day, plunging the majority of 13 districts in the region into darkness. Train traffic was badly hit.
Dozens of towns and hundreds of villages were without electricity as generation and transmission came to a standstill.
Patients in hospitals faced severe hardships while drinking water supply was affected in many areas. Internet services were hit. Even ATMs and mobile phones did not work in some areas.
Visakhapatnam Airport ran on back-up power. In Hyderabad, authorities imposed power cuts for two to three hours.
Hundreds of train passengers were stranded at various stations in Srikakulam district bordering Odisha as the movement of trains between Bhubaneswar and Visakhapatnam went haywire. For the second day, railways cancelled several trains in Vijayawada, Guduru and other sections.
The situation remained tense in Vizianagaram town of north coastal Andhra as an indefinite curfew continued for the third day. The town was rocked by violence on Friday and Saturday when protestors targeted the residences and other properties of state Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana and his relatives.