Hyderabad, Nov 1 (IANS) Amid intensified efforts to carve out Telangana, Andhra Pradesh Friday celebrated its 58th formation day, which many feel is the last such celebration for the southern state.
As the central government has put the process for formation of Telangana state on fast track and plans to bring a bill in the winter session of parliament, Telangana groups are confident that the state would soon be a reality.
The Andhra formation day was observed as 'betrayal day' and 'black day' in Telangana region.
In Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra, protests against the proposed bifurcation continued Friday too.
Groups opposing the Telangana decision stressed the need for keeping the state united. Leading them was Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy himself, who prayed for more "formation days" in future.
Speaking at the main official function in Hyderabad, the chief minister, who is opposed to the bifurcation, said he prayed to 'Telugu Talli' (mother Telugu) that this celebration continues every year.
"The state and people are facing uncertainty. There is confusion whether we will have another formation day celebration or not. But I pray to Telugu Talli that this celebration continues every year," said the chief minister after taking salute at the ceremonial parade at NTR Stadium.
The chief minister, who is openly defying the Congress leadership's decision to carve out a Telangana state, made it clear that he stood for a united Andhra Pradesh.
It was on this day in 1956 that Telangana, part of the erstwhile princely state of Hyderabad, was merged with Andhra State to form Andhra Pradesh, a state for Telugu speaking people with Hyderabad as its capital.
Earlier on Sep 1, 1953, Telugu-speaking Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra areas of Madras State were separated to form Andhra State with Kurnool as its capital.
The chief minister said if Andhra Pradesh was politically and economically strong, it was because it remained united.
He recalled that Potti Sriramulu laid down his life and Burgula Ramakrishna Rao (first elected chief minister of Hyderabad State) sacrificed his post for the sake of a state for Telugu-speaking people.
Kiran Reddy said it was Jawaharlal Nehru who brought unity on Nov 1, 1956 and later it was Indira Gandhi who strengthened this bond.
Recalling the words of Indira Gandhi in parliament on Dec 21, 1972, he said she advised Telugu people to think about the coming 100 years.
Earlier, the chief minister unfurled the national flag and took the salute from police forces. There was a colorful march past and cultural programme by school children.
Similar functions were also held in the districts.
Pro-Telangana groups observed it as 'betrayal' day. In Seemandhra (Rayalseema and coastal Andhra), integrationists held large gatherings opposing the bifurcation.
In Telangana, there was tension in some few places as pro-Telangana groups tried to disrupt official celebrations.