Hyderabad: Protests by opposition parties in Andhra Pradesh continued Wednesday to press for a rollback of the recent hike announced in electricity tariff.
Police arrested YSR Congress party leaders and activists when they tried to stop Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy's convoy in Nellore.
Raising slogans against the government, some protestors squatted on the road to stop the chief minister's convoy, and clashed with the police, who forced them into waiting vehicles and cleared the way for the convoy.
YSR Congress party honorary president Y.S. Vijayamma's indefinite fast in Hyderabad entered the second day Wednesday. As many as 35 legislators, including 13 rebels of the ruling Congress, and the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP), are also on hunger strike with her.
Several party leaders were reaching the hunger strike camp at Old MLA Quarters. The leaders of the Left parties also declared their support to Vijayamma's fast.
Meanwhile, leaders of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ended their fast on the fifth day.
BJP state president G. Kishan Reddy and other leaders called off their fast at Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) Hospital here.
The BJP leaders, who were shifted to hospital Tuesday night, said they ended their fast following an assurance by the government to reconsider the hike.
Leaders of the Communist parties and the TDP had also launched indefinite fast separately and they were also forcibly shifted to hospital.
The Left parties have already called for a state shutdown on April 9 and this has been supported by TDP, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and other opposition parties.
The TDP also continued collecting signatures, and claimed to have garnered the support of two crore people opposing the tariff hike.
Meanwhile, Congress leader and union Tourism Minister K. Chiranjeevi once again urged the Congress government in the state to withdraw the hike. He found fault with state Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana and senior leader Renuka Chowdhury for defending the hike in power tariff.
Chiranjeevi told reporters in New Delhi that such decisions should be taken only after discussion in the cabinet and the Congress coordination committee. "I am speaking on behalf of the people," he remarked, in response to the criticism from some Congress leaders that he was speaking for the opposition.
Electricity tariff was hiked March 30 for all categories of consumers, imposing a burden of over Rs.6,000 crore on people.