With clear indications that the ruling Congress at the Centre is in favour of carving out a Telangana state, people in Andhra and Rayalaseema regions (Seemandhra) appear to be gearing up for a prolonged agitation in protest against the likely bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh (AP).
The executive committee of the AP Non-gazetted Officers met here on Saturday and chalked out programmes for launching an agitation against the move starting Monday. The programme includes staging dharnas in front the houses of ministers, MPs and MLAs from Seemandhra, holding rallies and public meetings in Seemandhra districts and going on a pen-down strike from August 6.
In Anantapur, students boycotted classes on Saturday, held a rally and staged a demonstration on the Hyderabad-Bangalore national highway. On Friday, the Seemandhra students joint action committee held a demonstration in front of the Andhra University. It had also decided to stage dharnas in front of the houses of MLAs hailing from the two regions.
On the political front, 16 MLAs belonging to the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), floated by Kadapa MP YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, had submitted their resignations to the AP Legislative Assembly Speaker Nadendla Manohar.
Three MLAs from the ruling Congress - A Prabhakara Reddy, M Sridharkrishna Reddy (both belonging to Nellore district) and Veerashiva Reddy from Kadapa district - have also submitted their resignation in protest against the likely bifurcation of the state.
In December 2009, almost all ministers and legislators hailing from Seemandhra belonging to various political parties resigned, forcing the Centre to back out from its decision to initiate the process of creation of Telangana state.
However, the situation now is different from the previous episode with some of Congress ministers and MLAs from Seemandhra maintaining they would abide by the decision of the party high command, and the opposition Telugu Desam Party legislators maintaining a strategic silence at the behest of their leader N Chandrababu Naidu, who wanted them not to react until a decision on statehood was announced.
Meanwhile, as a precautionary measure, paramilitary forces have been deployed in the state capital, adjoining Rangareddy district and Nizamabad, where Seemandhra people have a large presence.