India

Telangana celebrates sixth formation day under shadow of COVID-19

Hyderabad, June 2 (IANS) India's youngest state Telangana on Tuesday celebrated sixth formation day under the shadow of coronavirus.

The usual pomp and gaiety was missing as the occasion was marked with muted celebrations in view of the ongoing lockdown to check the spread of COVID-19.

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Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao led the low-key celebrations by paying tributes at Telangana Martyrs' Memorial Gun Park near Assembly building in the heart of the city.

KCR, as the Chief Minister is popularly known, laid a wreath to pay tributes to those who laid down their lives for achieving separate statehood to Telangana.

Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar, Director General of Police Mahender Reddy, senior officials, public representatives and leaders of ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) were present.

KCR later hoisted the national flag at Pragati Bhavan, the official residence of the chief minister in the presence of senior officials and TRS leaders.

Every year, the Chief Minister used to unfurl the tricolour at a public ceremony and address the gathering, recalling the sacrifices made during Telangana movement and the progress achieved by the new state.

Subdued celebrations were also held in 32 other districts of the state. The ministers or other public representatives led the celebrations in district headquarters. Wearing masks and following social distancing, a limited number of public representatives and officials participated in the ceremonies.

The formation day celebrations were also held in the Assembly and Legislative Council premises. Assembly Speaker Pocharam Srinivas Reddy and Legislative Council G. Sukhender Reddy paid floral tributes to the statues of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr B. R. Ambedkar. Later the Speaker hoisted the national flag in the Assembly premises, while Sukhender Reddy unfurled the flag at the Council.

The Speaker recalled that the statehood to Telangana was achieved after the struggle of several decades. He said K. Chandrashekhar Rao fulfilled the long cherished dream of the people of Telangana.

The celebrations were also held at the offices of political parties. TRS General Secretary K. Keshava Rao hoisted the national flag at the party headquarters Telangana Bhavan.

State Congress chief Uttam Kumar Reddy led the celebrations at the party headquarters Gandhi Bhavan. Speaking on the occasion, he said the credit for making Telangana state a reality goes to party president Sonia Gandhi. He slammed KCR for what he called autocratic rule.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also held a ceremony at the party office. State BJP chief Bandi Sanjay hoisted the national flag. He lashed out at KCR for the family rule in the state and alleged that he had betrayed all sections of people.

Telangana was carved out of Andhra Pradesh on June 2, 2014. It came into existence as the 29th state following a long struggle, which was revived by KCR in 2001 by floating TRS.

The movement intensified in 2009 following the death of then chief minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy in a helicopter crash. KCR's fast-unto-death and massive protests forced then Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) to announce on December 9, 2009 that the process for formation of Telangana State will be initiated.

The Centre later tried to put the issue on the back-burner, citing the need for wider consultations. However, mass protests in Telangana compelled the government to speed up the process and the Parliament in February 2014 passed the bill to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh.

Following the victory of TRS in Assembly elections, KCR was sworn in as the first chief minister of Telangana on the same day as the new state came into being.

Under KCR's leadership, TRS retained power in the Assembly elections held in December 2018.

–IANS

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