Hyderabad: Normal life was disrupted in Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions on Wednesday as a shutdown began in the two regions against the decision of the Congress and the UPA to create Telangana state out of Andhra Pradesh.
Educational institutions, commercial establishments remained closed and the services of state-run Andhra Pradesh Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) were suspended in Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra districts like Kadapa, Chittoor, Visakhapatnam and Krishna.
Different outfits supporting united Andhra have called for a shutdown in the region against the decision of Congress to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh.
The supporters of united Andhra took out rallies and planned to organize other forms of protest during the day in the districts.
The protesters squatted on the roads and prevented the RTC buses from plying at different places.
The APSRTC has suspended its services at some places as a precautionary measure.
However, no major incident of violence was reported from the two regions till the morning hours, though the announcement by Congress met with disappointment across the two regions.
In addition to the state police, central paramilitary forces have been deployed in large numbers in the Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra districts to ensure law and order is maintained, also in view of the panchayat polls.
The third and final phase of the ongoing gram panchayat elections also began at 7 AM in different districts of Andhra Pradesh and polling has been by and large peaceful barring minor skirmishes, official sources said.
Shedding its dithering, the Congress and the UPA yesterday unanimously decided to create Telangana state out of Andhra Pradesh.
The Congress Working Committee, the highest decision-making body, decided to recommend to the central government to form the 29th state which will comprise 10 districts.
Hyderabad, considered the crowning jewel of the Telangana region, will be the joint capital of the newly-proposed state and the other regions, Rayalaseema and Andhra, for a period of 10 years. A new capital for Andhra will be identified Seemandhra region within this period.
In Vijayawada, students gathered at squares and blocked roads to protest against the decision over Telangana.
President of Vijayawada chamber of commerce and industry Velampalli Ramachandra Rao said commercial establishments are closed as traders are also supporting the shutdown.
Government employees have also responded to the bandh call. "Government employees across the district, except those who are on election duty, abstained from their duties," A Vidyasagar, AP NGOs association, Krishna district president said.
The bar association of Vijayawada has appealed to its members to abstain from courts functions.
Similar protests were held in Krishna district. In Visakhapatnam, 'Samaikyandhra' (united Andhra Pradesh) Students' Joint Action Committee (JAC) and various other organizations are holding protests.
Students' JAC leader Lagudu Govinda, who launched a hunger strike on the Andhra University campus on Tuesday night against the decision to form separate Telangana, on Wednesday said his agitation would continue till the Congress high command reverses its decision.