Normal life was affected in parts of Andhra Pradesh on Monday due to a shutdown called by the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) to protest the arrest of its chief N Chandrababu Naidu in Maharashtra.
The strike evoked mixed response in the state capital and 22 other districts. State-owned Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) had to partially suspend bus services in Hyderabad and other towns following protests by TDP activists.
Educational institutions, shops and business establishments were closed in parts of Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Kakinada, Tirupati and Guntur. Dozens of TDP activists were arrested for staging road blockades and for forcing closure of shops in different districts.
TDP workers staged a sit-in outside the APSRTC depots in Hyderabad and elsewhere to stop buses from plying.
The shutdown, however, had little impact in some areas as normal traffic was on the roads while markets also opened. The firms in IT district Cyberabad too were working as usual.
Naidu and 74 other TDP leaders, who are in judicial custody in Dharmabad of Maharashtra’s Nanded district, launched a day-long hunger strike, demanding that the Maharashtra government allow them to visit the Babli dam across Godavari River.
Naidu and his supporters, including MPs and legislators, were arrested Friday when they tried to proceed towards the dam. They alleged that Maharashtra is building the dam illegally and this would deprive Andhra Pradesh of its due share of Godavari waters.
A magistrate in Dharmabad Saturday sent the TDP leaders to judicial custody after they refused to seek bail. The leaders, who spent the third night in Dharmabad ITI, have vowed not to return without visiting the Babli project.
Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan has rejected their demand, saying this would create law and order problems.
Tensions, meanwhile, continued to prevail along the Andhra-Maharashtra border. The TDP plans to take out a march from Adilabad district towards Dharmabad to protest the arrests and continued detention of its leaders.