Vijayawada, Aug 2: A day-long shutdown called by opposition parties in Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday to demand special status to the state evoked near-total response.
Buses of the state-owned Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corp (APSRTC) went off the roads while shops, businesses and educational institutions remained closed in most parts of all the 13 districts.
Police arrested leaders and workers of the YSR Congress Party, Congress, Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India-Marxist as they staged road blockades and sit-in at bus depots.
The arrests led to tension at a few places.
Police forcibly removed the protestors at Pundit Nehru Bus Stand at Vijayawada. Similar situation was seen in Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam, Nellore, Chittoor, Kadapa, Kurnool and Anantapur districts.
The APSRTC buses were also confined to depots in East Godavari, West Godavari, Visakhapatnam, Vijayanagaram and Srikakulam.
Schools and colleges remained closed in response to the shutdown called by YSRCP to protest against the Centre's refusal to accord special status to the state and the failure of the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) to mount pressure on the central government.
The Congress and Left parties supported the shutdown call by YSRCP, the lone opposition party in the state assembly.
"Special status is Andhra's right", "Chandrababu Naidu down down" and "BJP down down" were the slogans raised by the protestors.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitely had told the Rajya Sabha last week that special status can't be accorded to Andhra Pradesh but assured that the Centre would do the handholding until the state become economically stable.
YSR Congress Party chief Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy termed this a betrayal of five crore people of the state by the BJP. He reminded the BJP that it had promised the special status for 10 years.
The leader of opposition also targeted the TDP for failing to bring pressure on the Centre to fulfill the commitment under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act.
He wondered how the TDP continued in the BJP-led NDA government despite the latter ruling out the special status.