Andhra Shutdown

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley after presenting the Union Budget 2018-19 at Parliament Feb 1. Left parties in Andhra Pradesh have called for a shutdown Feb. 8 in protest of the budget. (IANS photo)

AMARAVATI — Authorities in Andhra Pradesh have tightened the security in light of the shutdown called by the Left parties Feb. 8 to protest the injustice meted out to the state in the Union Budget 2018-19.

The Communist Party of India, the Communist Party of India-(Marxist) and several other smaller parties have called for the shutdown. The Yeduguri Sandinti Rajasekhara Reddy Congress and Congress parties have backed the shutdown call.

The ruling Telugu Desam Party has also called for protests across the state to express solidarity with its MPs, who have been trying to stall the proceedings in both houses of Parliament to demand justice to the state.

As a precautionary measure, the government has declared a holiday for schools. Police have made elaborate security arrangements to prevent any untoward incident.

Director General of Police M. Malakondaiah has directed superintendents of police in all districts to take all measures to maintain law and order. The officials in districts have been asked to take precautionary measures to protect public property and also keep a tight vigil.

The police chief said additional forces were deployed in sensitive areas.

The TDP, an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance, continued its protest in Parliament. The party MPs shouted slogans during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech, demanding justice for the state.

Earlier, TDP president and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu asked his party MPs to continue the protest until they received a categorical announcement from the Center. Though Union Ministers Rajnath Singh and Ananth Kumar spoke to Naidu over phone, urging him to advise his MPs to cooperate during the prime minister's speech, Naidu made it clear that the protest will continue, TDP sources said.

Actor-politician Pawan Kalyan said the movement to get justice for Andhra Pradesh should be on the lines of the movement for a separate Telangana state. The Jana Sena Party chief remarked that two placards and four slogans will be of no use.

He recalled that at the time of the state's bifurcation, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced in Parliament that a special category status will be accorded to Andhra Pradesh. Pawan said he had hoped that this commitment will be fulfilled after Narendra Modi formed the government at the Center but it did not happen.

Pawan said his party will support the shutdown, observing it peacefully and without causing inconvenience to people.

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