Andhra celebrates R-Day amid acrimony over Telangana

Hyderabad, Jan 26 (IANS) Patriotic fervour marked the 64th Republic Day celebrations across Andhra Pradesh Saturday amid acrimony over a separate Telangana state.

With the central government's one month deadline to announce its decision on the vexatious issue ending Monday, leaders across the political spectrum continued to pitch either for a separate state or for keeping the state united.

The leaders participated in the Republic Day celebrations in all three regions - Telangana, Andhra and Rayalaseema.

However, leaders from Telangana hit back at leaders from other regions for the alleged insulting remarks made at a public meeting at Rajhamundry in coastal Andhra Friday night.

The sensitive issue found its echo in the Congress party headquarters here with a section of leaders from Telangana interrupting state party chief Botsa Satyanarayana's Republic Day speech to lodge their protest over his participation in the meeting.

Party vice president Indrasena Reddy questioned why Satyanarayana took part in a meeting to oppose Telangana while being the Congress state president.

An argument ensued with Satyanarayana saying that in a democracy he has a right to express his views.

Even as others tried to pacify Reddy, some raised "Jai Telangana" slogans.

Satyanarayana Friday took part in a public meeting in Rajhamundry by party MP U. Arun Kumar to mark 40 years of the 'Jai Andhra' movement.

The speakers at the meet strongly opposed the possible division of Andhra Pradesh.

At Telangana Bhavan, the headquarters of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), party leader N. Narasimha Reddy first paid tributes to the statue of Telangana Talli (Mother Telangana) before unfurling the tricolour.

Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan led the celebrations by unfurling the national flag at the main ceremony at the Secunderabad Parade Grounds here.

He took the salute and reviewed a colourful parade by contingents of the Indian Air Force, defence establishments, police, Home Guards and NCC.

Tableauxs by government departments highlighted the development and welfare schemes in the state. Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy attended the function.

The day was also celebrated at NTR Trust Bhavan, headquarters of the Telugu Desam Party. Leader of the opposition and TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu hoisted the tricolour in Krishna district.

BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu hoisted the tricolour at the party office.

Republic Day celebrations were also held at the offices of YSR Congress Party and Communist parties. Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) leaders unfurled the national flag at various ceremonies in Hyderabad.

Patriotic fervour marked the celebration in all 23 districts. The national flag was unfurled on all government buildings and schools while people paid tributes to freedom fighters and martyrs.

At the celebrations in the district headquarters, school children participated in colourful cultural programmes. Students displayed a 1,500 metre long and nine metre wide national flag in Karimnagar.

Celebrations were also held at the Eastern Naval Command headquarters in Visakhapatnam.

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