Hyderabad: The transport and banking sectors were affected in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh as a nationwide strike called by trade unions came into effect on Wednesday.
Auto-rickshaws in Hyderabad and other towns in the two states were also off the roads. Truck owners and drivers also joined the strike at few places. Petrol bunks were shut at few places due to the strike.
Commuters were stranded at Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station (MGBS), Jubliee Bus Station in Hyderabad and Secunderabad as majority of long-distance buses were cancelled.
Activists of the left parties and trade unions staged protest at RTC bus depots in all 10 districts of Telangana and 13 districts of Andhra Pradesh. Bus stations in most of the towns wore a deserted look as majority of 18,000 buses in the two states went off the roads.
In Kurnool town of Andhra Pradesh, protest by RTC employees led to tension at the bus station. Striking employees tried to stop buses being operated with the help of contract staff.
Banking services were also paralysed in the two states. Public sector banks were closed in Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana and all cities and towns in Andhra as employees joined the strike.
Coal production in state-owned Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) in Telangana was also affected. Employees in SCCL mines in three districts joined the strike. Officials said 45,000 tonnes of coal production will be impacted, causing a loss of Rs.9 crore to the company.
Employees of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, HPCL, Ship Yard and other public sector undertakings also joined the strike.
Top Congress and BJP leaders, Narendra Modi and Rahul gandhi are all set to plunge into the electioneering in Telangana for the next month’s Assembly polls even as the ruling TRS has had a head start.
With the deadline for withdrawal of nominations coming to an end on Thursday, all major contenders were finalising their schedules for their star campaigners.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief Chandrababu Naidu, several central ministers and top leaders of the two national parties were set to hit the campaign trail.
Sonia Gandhi will be addressing an election meeting at Medchal on the outskirts here on November 23. The meet was expected to give a headstart to the party’s campaign as it heads a four-party ‘Mahakutami’ or grand alliance ahead of the single phase December 7 polls.
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi will share the stage with his mother on Friday at the meet.
As this is Sonia Gandhi’s first visit to Telangana after the formation of the state, the party leaders were holding it as a thanksgiving event in her honour for carving out the state.
Rahul Gandhi will again visit Telangana on November 28 and 29 and later on December 3 to address a series of rallies in different parts of the state.
Modi was expected to give boost to the Bharatiya Janata Party campaign by addressing a few rallies on November 27 and December 3. State BJP leaders say Modi may participate in the campaign in four districts, including here, covering the constituencies where the party is considered strong.
BJP chief Amit Shah, who addressed a couple of public meetings during September and October, plans to visit Telangana for three days soon to address 12 rallies.
Party’s Telangana unit president K. Laxman said Amit Shah will address the meetings on November 25, 27 and 28.
BJP is contesting all 119 seats on its own. Several union ministers are also likely to campaign for the party candidates. Health Minister J.P. Nadda and party general secretary Ram Madhav have already addressed a few meetings.
In his first-ever election in alliance with Congress party, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu is likely to address a few rallies. Party leaders say he may share the dais with Rahul Gandhi.
TDP, a constituent of ‘Mahakutami’ is contesting on 14 seats. Popular actor and TDP MLA N. Balakrishna may also address a few meetings, especially in Kukatpally constituency here, where his niece N. Suhasini is a candidate.
Suhasini is the granddaughter of TDP founder N.T. Rama Rao. Her actor brothers Junior NTR and Kalyan Ram are also likely to campaign for her.
Meanwhile, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) is racing ahead in the campaign with party president and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao addressing series of rallies. He is criss-crossing the state in a helicopter, seeking fresh mandate.
KCR, who had already addressed few meetings after dissolving the state assembly in September, plans to address 90 meetings in 15 days.
KCR’s son K.T. Rama Rao is another key campaigner for the party. He has hit campaign trail here and in surrounding districts, focusing on constituencies with sizeable number of voters who have their roots in Andhra Pradesh.
Besides, KCR’s daughter and party MP K. Kavitha and nephew Harish Rao were the other key campaigners for the party.
The campaign of Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) is being led by its president and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi. He is addressing public meetings and conducting foot march for his party’s candidates in the eight constituencies here. (IANS)