The bandh called by the Communist Party of India and various groups in support of giving special status to Andhra Pradesh as promised during bifurcation last year began across the state on Tuesday.
In addition to CPI workers, activists of Congress, YSR Congress and other Opposition parties, who extended support to the bandh, held rallies and other forms of protest at different places in the state.
They charged the National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre with going back on its election promise of special status to AP and the Telugu Desam Party government in the state of not doing enough to realise the promise.
The buses of the state-run Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation were largely confined to the depots at several towns in the state.
Schools, colleges and commercial establishments, including petrol stations, have been closed at some places. The police made extensive arrangements to ensure that no untoward incident takes place and policemen were maintaining vigil on important roads in different towns.
The promise of special status was made to Seemandhra (new Andhra Pradesh) by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Parliament during state bifurcation last year.
The opposition parties alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party and the TDP, who share power at the Centre and AP, have gone back on the promise since they came to power one year ago.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had extended support to the special status issue during his recent tour of Andhra Pradesh.
The special status promise to AP took an emotional turn with a 40-year-old man, said to be a Congress worker, attempting self-immolation at a public meeting organised by the party on Saturday last in Tirupati. He later succumbed to the serious burns he sustained in the incident.
The main Opposition YSR Congress, which held a protest at Jantar Mantar in Delhi yesterday seeking special status, called for a bandh separately on August 28.
In Visakhapatnam, the bandh evoked a partial response as majority of shops and business establishments remained open. However, educational institutions including schools and colleges, few business establishments and petrol bunks were shut. City cinema exhibitors cancelled the morning shows in their theatres.
Public sector and private sector banks, government offices and central government organisations were functioning as usual.
The movement of Andhra Pradesh Road Transport Corporation buses both in the city and district were affected for a few hours as bandh activists squatted near the RTC depots at various places.
However, RTC resumed its bus services with intervention of the police. More than 1000 petrol tankers were off the roads supporting the bandh. Meanwhile, the city police have made elaborate security arrangements deploying their forces at vulnerable points to maintain law and order in view of the bandh.
According to the police, the situation was peaceful and no untoward incident has been reported so far. In small towns as well as rural areas of Krishna and Guntur districts of Andhra Pradesh, the bandh was total and peaceful.
Educational institutions, petrol bunks, cinema theatres and commercial establishments closed their shutters voluntarily in these two districts. Advocates abstained from the courts proceedings.
Andhra Pradesh Union of Working journalists also participated in the bandh and also led a protest march from Press club to Sub Collector's office.
Journalists union leaders A Anjaneyulu and D Venkateswara Rao submitted a memorandum to the Sub Collector on the special status demand.
In Vijayawada city APPCC President N Raghuveera Reddy, CPI State Secretary K Rama Krishna led protest marches. Pradesh Congress Committee president Raghuveera Reddy visited the Bar Association's relay fast camp at the court complex and expressed his solidarity with them and called for a united fight.
On this occasion, Raghuveera Reddy said people from the state rose to the occasion unitedly and observed the bandh totally. He said this is a lesson for both the TDP and the BJP.