2013 could be last page in history of 'united' Andhra Pradesh
Hyderabad: The year 2013 could well be the last page in the history of 'united' Andhra Pradesh as the state stands on the verge of a geographical separation.
If everything goes as per the government's plan, Andhra Pradesh will get divided into two states - Telangana and (residual) Andhra Pradesh, bringing to an end the history of a state that remained united for 58 years.
Andhra Pradesh was the first state in the country to be created on a linguistic basis on November 1, 1956 by merging the erstwhile Andhra state and Hyderabad state. In 1953, Andhra state was carved out of the then Madras Presidency with Kurnool as its capital.
Subsequently, the Telugu-speaking parts of the then Hyderabad state were amalgamated with Andhra state, giving birth to Andhra Pradesh in 1956.
The proposal for amalgamation of Hyderabad state with Andhra state came up in 1953 and the then Chief Minister of Hyderabad state, Burgula Ramakrishna Rao, supported the Congress central leadership's decision in this regard though there was opposition in the region that was known as Telangana.
Accepting the merger proposal, the Andhra state Assembly passed a resolution on November 25, 1955 promising to safeguard the interests of Telangana. An agreement was reached between Telangana leaders and Andhra leaders on February 20, 1956 to merge Telangana and Andhra with promises to safeguard Telangana's interests.
Another agreement was then signed by then chief ministers of the respective states, Bezawada Gopala Reddy and Burgula Ramakrishna Rao, to the effect. The city of Hyderabad, the then capital of Hyderabad state, was made the capital of Andhra Pradesh.
For 13 years after Andhra Pradesh came into being, everything ran smoothly. In 1969, however, an agitation began in Telangana region as people protested the "failure" to implement the 'Gentlemen's Agreement' and other safeguards properly.
On January 19, 1969, an all-party accord was reached to ensure proper implementation of Telangana safeguards but that did not satisfy leaders of the region. Marri Channa Reddy of the Congress launched the Telangana Praja Samiti espousing the cause of a separate state.
Meanwhile, the people's agitation intensified and turned violent, leading to the death of over 350 people. In 1972, the Jai Andhra movement started in Andhra- Rayalaseema regions as a counter to the Telangana struggle.
Stalwarts like Kakani Venkata Ratnam, Tenneti Viswanadham and Gouthu Lachchanna led the Jai Andhra struggle in which the likes of M Venkaiah Naidu took an active part. On September 21, 1973, a political settlement was reached with the Government of India and a Six-Point Formula put in place to placate people of the two regions.
It was agreed upon by the leaders of the two regions to prevent recurrence of any such agitations in future. To avoid legal problems, the Constitution was amended (32nd amendment) to give legal sanctity to the six-point formula.
Thereafter, peace prevailed across Andhra Pradesh and it progressed on the path of development. Subsequently, till 1999, there was no demand from any quarters for division of the state on regional lines.
In 1999, the then Leader of Opposition Y S Rajasekhara Reddy of the Congress re-ignited the regional fire making his party MLAs from the region write a letter to the high command demanding creation of a separate state of Telangana.