Congress Member of Parliament L Rajagopal, who had threatened to go on an indefinite hunger strike to oppose division of Andhra Pradesh, began his fast in Vijaywada on Tuesday.
"I wanted to undertake the fast in Hyderabad on Monday but I was not allowed to do so, I am continuing my fast here," Rajagopal told media-persons. Asserting that the majority of the people do not want division of Andhra Pradesh, he demanded the Centre make a statement that the state would not be bifurcated. "A resolution should be introduced in the Assembly for Telangana. It should have been done on Monday. About 225 of the 294 MLAs are opposed to Telangana. The resolution is bound to lose and things would have been clear," the Vijayawada MP said.
Hailing late Chief ministers N T Rama and Y S Rajasekhara Reddy for keeping the Telugu-speaking people united, Rajgopal demanded that Telegu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu and actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi end their support for Telangana. Rajgopal was shifted to Vijayawada from Hyderabad amid high drama on Monday night. He was detained in the evening after he staged a sit-in along with 15 Congress MLAs and Praja Rajayam Party MLA at the Lalbahdur Stadium. He was taken to Falkunama police station late on Monday night but some Telangana Rashtriya Samiti and Bharatiya Janata Party activists stated a protest outside the police station. Subsequently he was taken to Vijayawada.
Praising the leadership of Rajagopal, the Joint Action Committee formed for spearheading the agitation for united Andhra Pradesh announced that they will lay siege to the national highway in Vijayawada on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the fast-unto-death launched by TDP MLAs D Umameshwara Rao and others in Vijayawada in support of an united state entered the third day. Rao demanded that Lok Sabha members resign from their posts to mount pressure on the Centre.
Protests and bandhs continued across coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions against the division of the state. Agitators planned programmes to hail the sacrifice made by Potti Sriramulu, in view of his death anniversary on Tuesday. Sriramulu died while holding a fast-unto-death for the formation of a state for Telugu speaking people. Rallies, relay hunger strikes and other forms of protests and demonstrations are being held in all districts of the non-Telangana regions opposing bifurcation of the state.