The first day for the citizens of residual Andhra Pradesh was one of fighting fears about the multiple uncertainties which have sprung up in their lives. The student community of northern Andhra Pradesh was at the forefront of leading the anti-Telangana protests followed by a section of lawyers, government employees and members of the YSR Congress Party. This even as commoners stuck to their chores despite sporadic incidents of blocking of roads, enforcing bandhs and stopping public transport sans major incident were reported.
Areti Mahesh, State Chairman, Samaikhyandhra Student Joint Action Committee (JAC), sat on an indefinite hunger strike alongwith his ten fellow students inside the campus of the Andhra University. He said, “The Telugu people were a part of Madras Presidency under British India, until we all got along on linguistic grounds. A lot has gone into developing this state, all of which will be brought to naught with this division.” Further, asking for the political class to put in their papers in protest, he added that the UPA rollback their decision.
Speaking to a cross-section of citizens, this correspondent came across varied views, some questioning the legality to others anxious of the road ahead.
PS Murthy, a lawyer practicing in Vishakapatnam remarked, “This is a bifurcation which has taken place on the so-called sentimental grounds in a state which was the first to be formed on linguistic basis! Constitutional experts are divided on the legalities arising out of this.” PVSN Raju, a teacher questioned the basis of separation. “Do you think in AP only Telangana was under-developed? Northern Andhra is worse off, so we should also have our own state? Even Rayalseema is backward. Since when is backwardness a criteria for separation?” he asked.
A student from Srikakulam, K Jagdeesh, while opposing the bifurcation said, “I foresee trouble for our Andhra brothers who are settled in Telangana given the way the pro-Telangana elements literally muscled their way into making the centre accept their demand.” Similar sentiments were echoed by Manikanta N, a first year degree student, “If after ten years, we get good jobs in Hyderabad, will those from Telangana allow us? I doubt. It will affect us be it in terms of jobs, education or even staying there.
Questions also arose over the city which can step into Hyderabad’s shoes as the next capital of Andhra Pradesh and how effective a replacement can that be. Venkatrao P, a government employee said, “Cities of coastal Andhra are smaller, lesser developed, I can’t see how any of them can replace Hyderabad.”
V Sheshadri, Collector, Vishakapatnam
“Sufficient bandobast was made and we have ensured that the essential services including hospitals, transport etc can continue unhindered. Yes, there were some stray incidents but largely the citizens did not face any significant trouble anywhere.