Hyderabad/New Delhi: The campaign for separate Telangana snowballed on Tuesday with TRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao resigning his Lok Sabha seat as the number of MLAs from the region quitting the Andhra Pradesh Assembly touched the 100 mark.

Concerned over the development, Union Minister and Congress in-charge for Andhra Pradesh Ghulam Nabi Azad on Tuesday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party chief Sonia Gandhi and conveyed to them the sentiments of the lawmakers from the Telangana region.

Azad said the MLAs and MPs are "open to discussions" and that the Centre should start discussions on the issue and "those who have resigned have not closed their doors."

Rao, whose Telangana Rashtrya Samithi is spearheading the statehood movement, and his colleague and actor Vijaya Shanti faxed their resignations from Lok Sabha to Speaker Meira Kumar, while two TDP MPs -- Nama Nageswara Rao and Ramesh Rathod -- met her in New Delhi and put in their papers.

100 of the total 119 legislators from the Telangana region have resigned since Monday with more MLAs of Congress, TDP and all 11 legislators of the TRS quitting on Tuesday. Four members of CPI and two from the BJP also resigned from the Assembly.

With this, the total number of Congress legislators who have resigned has risen to 42, including two from actor Chiranjeevi's Praja Rajyam Party. All 37 TDP MLAs from the region have resigned.

Ten members from Congress, including Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Rajanarashima, seven MIM MLAs and one each from Lok Satta and CPI(M) have not resigned.  No decision has been taken on the resignations either by the Speaker of the Assembly or the presiding officers in Parliament with an indication that an early decision is not likely.

Azad said he appreciates the sentiments of the lawmakers from the Telangana region and said they are willing to be engaged in the process.

Earlier, speaking to a television channel, Azad said an all-party meeting on the Telangana issue needs to be preceded by talks with the people of different regions of Andhra Pradesh and political parties.

Telangana observes bandh

Barring minor incidents of clashes in Osmania University, the first day of the 48-hour bandh called by the Telangana political Joint Action Committee (JAC) in support of a separate state passed off peacefully on Tuesday.

Clashes took place when the students of the university were prevented by the security personnel from taking out a rally, a police official said.

The students pelted stones at security personnel who lobbed tear gas shells to disperse them, police said, adding four policemen and some students were injured in the incidents.

Over 50 students and other Telangana supporters were taken into preventive custody, the official said.

In Hyderabad, TRS workers and other Telangana supporters tried to stop the vehicle of senior Congress MLA M Sasidhar Reddy, who is vice-chairman of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), for not resigning from Assembly membership.

Commuters had a tough time as the state-run Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) suspended services in Hyderabad and other Telangana districts.

Schools, colleges, shops and other commercial establishments remained closed across Telangana region and the APSRTC buses remained off the roads. In Warangal, the students of Kakatiya University and Telangana supporters tried to lay siege on the houses of TDP Rajya Sabha member G Sudha Rani and Congress MLC K Muralidhar Rao.

The shutdown was total in Warangal district with educational institutions and commercial establishments remaining closed.

A report from Karimnagar said the shutdown was peaceful in the district with no untoward incident taking place. The commercial establishments, government offices, educational institutions, shops, cinema theatres and banks remained closed and buses were off the roads.

In Medak district, rallies were organised by Telangana supporters and TRS workers. Former TRS MLAs S Ramalinga Reddy and Padma Devender Reddy led the demonstrations.

Tight security arrangements were made in view of the shut down.

Bandh affects business activities

Economic activities in Telangana took a big hit on the first day of the two-day bandh called by various political parties demanding formation of separate state comprising the region in Andhra Pradesh.

Pharma industry, second largest business activity in Hyderabad after Information Technology, suffered a production loss of approximately Rs 100 crore, a representative of Bulk Drug Manufacturers Association of India (BDMA).

Banking and financial activities came to a standstill in Telangana due to the bandh. According to All India Bank Officers Association (AIBOA), banking transactions worth Rs 20,000 crore will be affected during these two days beginning on Tuesday as most of the 5,000-odd branches of all banks in the region may remain closed.

According to an official spokesperson of All India Insurance Employees Association, the shutdown may affect premium collection in the region.

Singareni Collieries (SCCL) suffered coal production loss of Rs 15 crore on Tuesday, a spokesperson of the state-owned company said.

However, it is business as usual for IT industry, where employee attendance was normal, said L Suresh, President, Information Technology and Services Industry Association of Andhra Pradesh said.

JPN/Agencies