The bandh that took place on Saturday to make Andhra Pradesh a special status state and Visakhapatnam the headquarters of a new railway zone failed to disrupt normal life in the city and district. Normalcy was restored by the police, even before the bandh could truly begin. Leaders of Opposition parties gathered at the Visakhapatnam International Airport to confront Visakhapatnam MP and BJP State President, K Haribabu, on the issues. At Maddilapalem, some more leaders planned to stage protests with a large number of volunteers. But both were foiled by the police who took the leaders at both places into custody.
Protesters were also taken into custody at Jagadamba, NAD, Gajuwaka and Steel Plant. Mild lathi charge took place at the CPI(M) office in Kancharapalem. A total of 620 persons from the city and an additional 583 persons from the district were arrested. CPI(M) State Secretariat Member Ch. Narasinga Rao called out on the “double standard of the State Government” and said the large number of arrests will “prove to be counter-productive for both the BJP and TDP”.
While the BJP and TDP leaders were issuing statements that they were in favour of Visakhapatnam being the headquarters of the new railway zone, both parties have their own reasons to lean towards Vijayawada. Demands were made by the Opposition leaders for the resignation of K Haribabu for failing to protect the interests of Vizag.
BJP leadership has asserted that Andhra Pradesh will not be granted special category status under the 14th Finance Commission and financial package announced by the centre. BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu dropped hints that he was ready for an open debate with anyone who had a thorough knowledge of the Constitution, politics and administration. “Given my long stint in politics and administration, I would not debate with some passerby,” he said. He accused Congress of misleading people on the issue. He asserted that the special category status would bring development in only certain sectors, but the financial package the Centre is offering will prove to be more helpful to Andhra Pradesh. A financial package of Rs 2.25 lakh crore was announced.