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Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N Chandrababu Naidu reached Delhi on Monday to begin an indefinite hunger strike in protest against the Centre’s decision to carve out Telangana state from Andhra Pradesh.In May 2008, Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party or TDP passed a resolution supporting the decision to carve out Telangana, one of the three regions of Andhra Pradesh, as India’s 29th state.Today, Mr Naidu has begun what he describes as an indefinite hunger strike in Delhi to protest against the bifurcation of his state. His political opponents accuse him of doublespeak; his party says he is fighting to protect Seemandhra’s interests, and to oppose what they describe as the centre’s unilateral decision to divide Andhra Pradesh. On October 3, the Union cabinet decided to go ahead with the process for the creation of Telangana state out of Andhra Pradesh. Fresh anti-Telangana protests erupted in Seemaandhra region the very next day, while Naidu in Hyderabad announced his plan for an agitation over the issue. He accused Congress of “ruining” the country and leaving Andhra Pradesh facing a “disaster” with the decision to create Telangana. He termed the Centre’s move “political match fixing”. The former AP chief minister Naidu is now fighting a political battle for survival in the state, say observers. He has also accused Congress of entering into an “arrangement” with TRS and YSR Congress with regard to the bifurcation decision. Political pundits predict that while Congress and TRS would gain in Telangana, Jaganmohan Reddy’s YSR Congress party could make big waves in the Seemandhra region. In Hyderabad, YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy, who has taken a centre-stage in the renewed stir, continued his hunger strike on the third day on Monday. Meanwhile, the anti-Telangana protests entered the fourth day in Seemandhra region on Monday.The power Shutdown crippled normal life in 13 districts of Seemandhra (comprising coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema) as Power Employees’ Joint Action Committee called an indefinite strike on Sunday morning.They had announced on Saturday that 70,000 workers of transmission, generation and distribution companies would go on an indefinite stir. Power production at the Kadapa and Vijayawada thermal units and Srisailam hydro units was also hit. Further tripping could affect the entire southern grid, the employees said. Some media reports said even neighbouring Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala were affected. Due to the power situation, the South Central Railway cancelled the Jan Shatabdi Express running between Chennai Central and Vijayawada, scheduled to leave the city on Monday. Protesters defied curfew and shoot-at-sight orders to clash with police on Sunday. They pelted stones at security forces and the troops retaliated by firing rubber bullets. Curfew was also imposed in Vizianagaram town after day-long violence on Saturday. According to media reports, 20 policemen and 30 protesters were injured. Dozens of agitators were arrested.

(With PTI inputs)

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