HYDERABAD :After a gap of about five years, Andhra Pradesh again celebrated its formation day on 1 November. The Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy-led YSR Congress government has decided to revive the state formation celebrations that were scrapped by the previous Chandrababu Naidu-led TDP government since 2014, in protest against bifurcation of the combined Andhra Pradesh on 2 June that year.

Chief Minister Jagan has decided to dump the legacy of the Naidu regime just as he has undone with many of the moves of the previous government and revert to 1 November as the formation day of Andhra Pradesh. Governor Biswabhushan Harichandan, Chief Minister and many of his Cabinet colleagues and senior officials and others, were present at a function held at the Indira Gandhi Municipal Stadium in Vijayawada on Friday.

The government conducted official celebrations in all 13 district headquarters where the minister unfurled the Tricolor and distributed sweets to students and public. YSR Congress, too, celebrated the Andhra Pradesh Formation Day fete by cutting cakes at its offices and highlighted the achievements of the Jagan-led government in the last five months.

However, the decision to revert to 1 November has its own share of controversy and evoked mixed views from the Opposition parties. 1 November is the day when Andhra State that was separated from the then Madras State was merged with Hyderabad State in 1956 and called Andhra Pradesh, as part of policy to form linguistic states in India by the Nehru government.

The formation of Andhra Pradesh in 1956 was preceded by the sacrifice of Potti Sriramulu who died after a 58-day-long fasting for formation of Andhra State for Telugu speaking people. Sriramulu and others had opted for a fast onto death agitation to ensure justice to Telugu people in the combined Madras State which was dominated by Tamil speaking people. Sriramulu died on 15 December 1952 and then Prime Minister Nehru in the Parliament declared Andhra State with Kurnool as the capital on 1 October 1953. However, as part of its policy to promote linguistic states in the country, the Nehru government later merged Andhra State with Hyderabad State and formed Andhra Pradesh on 1 November 1956.

But this decision on Andhra Pradesh was opposed by sections of people of Hyderabad State which was under the rule of the then Nizam till 17 September 1948. After merging Kannada speaking parts with Karnataka and Marathi speaking parts with Maharashtra, Telugu speaking parts of Hyderabad State were merged with Andhra to form Andhra Pradesh. Hyderabad State is also called Telangana.

Right from its formation in 1956, sections in the Telangana region had opposed Andhra Pradesh formation. This movement went up and down over the years and triggered a wave of violent protests in 1969 which claimed around 300 lives of students in police firing. Finally, Telangana broke away from Andhra Pradesh on 2 June 2014 with the bifurcation of the combined state.

Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s government celebrated Telangana state Formation Day on 2 June every year, but the N. Chandrababu Naidu-led TDP government which came to power in 2014 elections decided not to celebrate any Formation Day. Instead, Naidu observed 2 June as Protest Day and held week-long meetings condemning the “unfair bifurcation of AP in 2014”.

Meanwhile, Congress senior leader and former MLC Tusli Reddy felt that Jagan should have chosen either June 2 or even 1 October for the state formation day. “The present Andhra Pradesh with 13 districts is called a residual state by the Andhra Pradesh bifurcation Act in 2014, so there is no resemblance between the present Andhra Pradesh and the Andhra Pradesh of 1956,” he said.

Chief Minister Jagan has decided to constitute an award in the name of late Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy to felicitate a successful Telugu person on the occasion.

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