Protests in all three regions of Andhra Pradesh Sunday marked the third anniversary of the central government's announcement to initiate the process of forming a separate state of Telangana.
While parties fighting for a Telangana state took out rallies in Hyderabad and nine other districts of the region, demanding the central government fulfill its word, some groups in parts of Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and Andhra regions) observed a black day, opposing any move to bifurcate the state.
The Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC), Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Communist Party of India (CPI) and various student groups organised meetings and observed hunger strike.
The JAC and TRS observed Sunday as day of inspiration when their leaders addressed meetings in various parts of the region. BJP leaders observed a day-long fast to protest the delay in carving out a separate state. The CPI took out rallies and burnt effigies of the central government for going back on its word.
State BJP president G. Kishan Reddy, who participated in the hunger strike in Hyderabad, termed the all-party meeting convened by union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Dec 28 as another ploy of the Congress party.
He said if the Congress was sincere on Telangana issue, Congress president Sonia Gandhi should attend the all-party meeting.
"If Sonia Gandhi attends the meet, BJP president Nitin Gadkari will also participate," he said.
CPI state secretary K. Narayana, who led a protest rally in Hyderabad, alleged that the Congress is not sincere on Telangana issue. He said without the Congress spelling its stand, the all-party meet would serve no purpose.
Narayana demanded that the central government immediately implement its announcement of Dec 9, 2009. Raising slogans of "Jai Telangana", the protestors set afire the effigy of the central government.
In the Rayalaseema and Andhra regions, student groups observed 'black day' and demanded that the central government withdraw its Dec 9 statement. Samaikhya Andhra Students' Joint Action Committee staged protests in Kadapa, Guntur and Visakhapatnam.
Opposing any move to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh, they asked the central government not to hold the all-party meeting.
It was on Dec 9, 2009, that the central government announced that the process for formation of Telangana state would be initiated. The announcement was made following 11-day fast by TRS chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao and mass protests across Telangana.
However, the counter protests in Seemandhra and the mass resignations of MPs and state legislators in the two regions forced the central government to put the process on hold. Then union home minister P. Chidambaram announced that the government would evolve consensus before taking any further step on the issue.