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Post-Independence Era

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Struggle for Andhra State

The Andhras were struggling for the formation of a separate Andhra Province since the period of British, but could not succeed. When India attained Independence on the 15th of August, 1947, Andhras hoped that their long-cherished desire would be realised soon. Inspite of several renewed efforts put forth by the Andhra leaders before the Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the Deputy Prime Minister Sardar Vallabhai Patel, the desire for a separate Andhra State remained as a dream itself.

The Dar Commission, appointed by the Government of India under the Chairmanship of S.K.Dar did not recommend for the creation of States on the linguistic consideration. This report of the Commission created such an adverse reaction in Andhra that the Congress leaders felt it prudent to assuage the ruffled feelings of the Telugus. An unofficial Committee, consisting of Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel and Pattabhi Sitaramaiah, popularly known as the J.V.P. Committee, was constituted by the Congress. The Committee in its report submitted to the Working Committee of the Indian National Congress in April, 1949 recommended that the creation of linguistic provinces be postponed by few years. However, it suggested that Andhra Province could be formed provided the Andhras gave up their claim to the city of Madras (now Chennai). This report provoked violent reaction in Andhra as the Telugus were not prepared to forego their claims to the city of Madras.

Under the prevailing situation, a Partition Committee was formed under the Chairmanship of Kumaraswami Raja, the then Chief Minister of Madras. Andhra was represented by Tanguturi Prakasam, B.Gopala Reddi, Kala Venkata Rao and N.Sanjiva Reddy. The Partition Committee could not arrive at an agreed settlement. Prakasam disagreed with the views of other members and gave a dissenting note. The Government of India, took advantage of the dissenting note of Prakasam and shelved the issue. To express the resentment of the Andhras, Swami Sitaram (Gollapudi Sitarama Sastry), a Gandhian, undertook a fast unto death, which created an explosive situation in Andhra. However, Swami gave up his 35-day fast on the 20th of September, 1951, on the appeal made by Vinoba Bhave. Nothing came out of this fast except the increasing distrust of the people of Andhra towards their own leaders and the Government of India.

In the First General Elections of 1952, Andhras expressed their resentment towards the Congress leaders by defeating them at the polls. Out of the 140 seats from Andhra in the Madras Legislative Assembly, the Congress could secure only 43, while the Communist Party of India bagged as many as 40 seats out of the 60 it contested. In the Madras Legislative Assembly itself, the Congress could secure only 152. The non-Congress members in the legislature, numbering 164 formed themselves into a United Democratic Front (U.D.F.) and elected T.Prakasam as their leader. But the Governor nominated C.Rajagopala Chari to the Legislative Council and invited him to form the ministry.

After Rajagopala Chari became the Chief Minister of the Madras State, he tried to divert the Krishna waters by constructing Krishna-Pennar Project for the development of the Tamil area. The Andhras agitated against this as they feared that the Project spelt ruin to Andhra. The Government of India appointed an expert Committee under the Chairmanship of A.N.Khosla, who pronounced that the project in its present form should not be proceeded with and suggested the construction of a project at Nandikonda (the site of the present Nagarjunasagar Project). The report of the Khosla Committee vindicated the apprehensions of the Andhras regarding the unfriendly attitude of Rajagopala Chari's Government towards the Andhras. The desire of the Andhras to separate themselves from the composite Madras State and form their own State gained further momentum.

At this juncture, Potti Sriramulu, a self-effacing Gandhian, began his fast unto death on the 19th of October, 1952 at Madras. Though the fast created an unprecedented situation throughout Andhra, the Congress leaders and the Government of India did not pay much attention to it. On the 15th of December, 1952, Sriramulu attained martyrdom. The news of Sriramulu's death rocked Andhra into a violent and devastating agitation. The Government of India was taken aback at this popular upsurge. On the 19th December, 1952, Jawaharlal Nehru announced in the Lok Sabha that the Andhra State would be formed with the eleven undisputed Telugu districts, and the three Taluks of the Bellary district, but excluding Madras City.

On the 1st of October, 1953, Andhra State came into existence. It consisted of the districts of Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna, Guntur, Nellore, Chittoor, Cuddapah, Anantapur and Kurnool, and the taluks of Rayadurg, Adoni and Alur of the Bellary district. On the question of Bellary taluk, it was included in the Mysore State on the recommendation of L.S.Mishra Commission.

Kurnool became the capital of the new State, under the terms of the Sri Bagh Pact of 1937 between the leaders of the Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema. T.Prakasam became the first Chief Minister of the Andhra State and C.M.Trivedi was appointed Governor of this new State. With the inauguration of the Andhra State by Nehru, the forty year old dream of the Telugu people to have a separate State of their own was partly fulfilled. They looked forward to the formation of Visalandhra with Hyderabad City as the Capital.

Police Action in Hyderabad State

Andhras were very much agitated over the developments in the State of Hyderabad during the years 1946--48. The Nizam was very anxious to become independent and he insisted that Hyderabad should be the third dominion. He tried to achieve his ambitious desire with the help of Khasim Razvi of the Ittehadul Muslimeen and its storm-troopers, the Razakars.

Meanwhile, the Hindus of the Hyderabad State who accounted for 93 per cent of its population, launched the `Join India' movement with the cooperation of a few patriotic Muslims for the integration of the State with the rest of the country. The State Congress leaders, led by Swami Ramanand Tirtha, invoked themselves whole-heartedly in the movement. As the State Congress was banned by the Nizam, its leaders conducted their activities from places like Vijayawada and Bombay. The Communists on their part organised village defence squads to protect the villagers from the attacks of the Nizam Police and Razakars.

All negotiations between the Nizam's Dominions and the Indian Union proved abortive. The Nizam Government did not agree to the accession of the Dominions to the Indian Union. The activities of the Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen and the Razakars within the Dominions were posing a threat to peace and harmony. The growing violence of the Razakars seriously jeopardised law and order. The Government of India, tried to make the Nizam see reason and sign the Instrument of Assession with India. After tortuous negotiations, the Nizam finally entered into a `Stand Still Agreement' on November 29, 1947, with India for one year to maintain status quo, which existed between the British and the Nizam before August 15, 1947. This agreement of the Nizam was only to gain time to procure military hardware from different parts of the world and smuggle them into Hyderabad. In the meanwhile, the Nizam sent a delegation to the U.N.O. to refer the Hyderabad case to the Security Council.

With the growing violence by the Razakars and the Nizam's attempts to get himself independent, the Government of India decided to curb these tendencies by launching a `Police Action' against the Nizam. On the 13th of September, 1948 `Police Action' on Hyderabad commenced. The Indian Army, led by Major-General J.N.Chaudhuri entered the State from five directions and the military action was a brilliant success. On 18th September, 1949, Nizam's forces surrendered and Mir Laik Ali, the Prime Minister of the Nizam, and Khasim Razvi were arrested. On September, 23, the Nizam withdrew his complaint in the Security Council. The merger of Hyderabad Dominions into the Indian Union was announced. Major-General J.N.Chaudhuri took over as Military Governor of Hyderabad and stayed in that position till the end of 1949. In January 1950, M.K.Vellodi, a Senior Civil Servant, was made the Chief Minister of the State and the Nizam was designated `Raj Pramukh'. After the 1952 General Elections, the first popular ministry headed by B.Rama Krishna Rao took charge of the State.

Emergence of Andhra Pradesh

The creation of Andhra State in October, 1953 strengthened the general demand for linguistic States. Andhras had also long cherished demand for the formation of Visalandhra, since the people of Hyderabad State were unanimous in their demand for the trifurcation of their State. Andhras hoped that the outlying Telugu areas in Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Mysore and Madras be incorporated in the greater Andhra.

The States Reorganisation Commission, with Syed Fazl Ali as the Chairman, set up by the Government of India in December 1953, who heard the views of different organisations and individuals, was though convinced of the advantages of Visalandhra, however, favoured the formation of separate State for Telangana. This report of the S.R.C. led to an intensive lobbying both by the advocates of Telangana and Visalandhra. The Communists reacted sharply and announced that they would resign their seats in the Hyderabad Legislative Assembly and contest elections on the issue. In the Hyderabad Legislative Assembly, a majority of the Legislators supported Visalandhra.

The Congress High Command favoured Visalandhra and prevailed upon the leaders of the Andhra State and Telangana to sort out their differences, who, thereupon, entered into a `Gentlemen's Agreement'. One of the main provisions of the Agreement was the creation of a `Regional Council' for Telangana for its all round development. The enlarged State by merging nine Telugu speaking districts of Adilabad, Nizamabad, Medak, Karimnagar, Warangal, Khammam, Nalgonda, MahabubNagar and Hyderabad, into Andhra State with its eleven districts of Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna, Guntur, Nellore, Chittoor, Cuddapah, Anantapur and Kurnool, totalling 20 districts* was named `Andhra Pradesh' with its capital at Hyderabad. It was inaugurated on the 1st of November, 1956 by Jawaharlal Nehru. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy became the first Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, who later rose to the position of the President of India. Burgula Ramakrishna Rao, last of the Chief Ministers of Hyderabad State was elevated to the Office of the Governor of Kerala. C.M.Trivedi continued to be the Governor of Andhra Pradesh.

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*Three more districts were added later by the creation of Prakasam in 1970, Ranga Reddy in 1978 and Vizianagaram in 1979. Thus, the State presently has 23 districts.

As stated above, on the formation of Andhra Pradesh on the 1st of November 1956, Neelam Sanjiva Reddy became the first Chief Minister of the new State. Consequent on his becoming the President of the All India Congress Committee, he resigned the post of Chief Minister on 10th June, 1960 and was succeeded by D.Sanjivaiah, a talented young man from the Scheduled Castes. After 1962 General Elections, Sri N.Sanjiva Reddy again became the Chief Minister of the State on 12th March, 1962. But, he relinquished the Chief Ministership in 1964 on moral grounds consequent on the adverse verdict of the Supreme Court in Kurnool Transport Nationalisation case. He was succeeded by Sri Kasu Brahmananda Reddy on 29th February, 1964. He was in the office till 30th September, 1971. His long innings witnessed development of the city as well as the State in many ways. True the Telangana agitation erupted during his time paved way for rectification of defects and implementation of measures to develop Telangana.

Political Crisis in 1969 and 1972

During the years 1969 and 1972, Andhra Pradesh was rocked by two political agitations popularly known as the `Telangana' and the `Jai Andhra' Movements respectively. Telangana agitation was started by the people of the region when they felt that the Andhra leaders had flouted the Gentlemen's Agreement which facilitated the formation of Andhra Pradesh.

The influx of the people from the coastal region into the city of Hyderabad created many social tensions. Slowly the discontent spread among the Telangana officials and the unemployed youth who felt that they were exploited by the people of the Andhra region. The discontent manifested itself when a student of Khammam went on a hunger-strike in January 1969 demanding the implementation of the safeguards for Telangana provided in the Gentlemen's Agreement. Slowly the agitation spread to Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana. In the beginning, the movement demanded the implementation of the safeguards agreed upon earlier, but later it wanted the separation of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh.

The agitation took a new turn when the Congress legislators from Telangana supported the movement. Dr.Channa Reddy entered the fray and formed the Telangana Praja Samiti to lead the movement. But by November 1969, there was a split in the Praja Samiti when dissident Congress legislators realised that the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was not in favour of separate Telangana. The movement slowly petered out. In September 1971, Brahmananda Reddy, the then Chief Minister, resigned his position to make room for a leader from Telangana to become the Chief Minister. On the 30th of September, 1971, P.V.Narsimha Rao* became the Chief Minister. The Telangana Praja Samiti was dissolved and its members rejoined the Congress.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------*He raised to the position of occupying the Chair of Prime Minister of India during 1991-96.

During 1972, another agitation known as the Jai Andhra Movement was launched in the Andhra region. The agitation was a sequel to the Telangana agitation which demanded that only `Mulkis' should be appointed to the posts in Telangana including the Hyderabad city. The `Mulki' issue had a long history behind it. As early as in 1919, the Nizam of Hyderabad issued a firman laying down that only `Mulkis' are eligible for public appointments in the State. `Mulki' was defined as one who was born in the State of Hyderabad or resided there continuously for fifteen years and had given an affidavit that he abandoned the idea of returning to his native place. Even after the formation of Andhra Pradesh, the Mulki rules continued to be in force in the Telangana region. As these rules stood in the way of the people of the Andhra region to compete for the posts, their validity was challenged in the High Court. A full bench of the High Court by a four-one majority held that the Mulki rules were not valid and operative after the formation of Andhra Pradesh.

But on an appeal by the State Government, the Supreme Court declared on the 3rd of October, 1972 that the Mulki rules were valid and were in force. The judgement created a great political crisis in the State. The people of the Andhra region felt that they were reduced to the status of second class citizens in their own State capital. They felt that the only way to uphold their dignity was by severing their connection with Telangana and started a movement for the separation of Andhra region from Andhra Pradesh.

As the agitation continued, President's rule was imposed in the State on the 10th of January, 1973. Finally, a political settlement was arrived at under the aegis of the Central Government. A `Six-Point Formula' was agreed upon by the leaders of the two regions to prevent any recurrence of such agitations in future. The `Six-Point Formula' included (1) the abolition of Mulki rules and the Telangana Regional Committee and (2) the establishment of a Central University at Hyderabad to augment educational facilities.

On December 10, 1973, President's rule in the State was revoked and a popular ministry with Sri Jalagam Vengala Rao as the Chief Minister was inducted. With this, normalcy returned and the State enjoyed political stability.

In the General Elections held in February 1978 for the A.P.Legislative Assembly, the Congress Party swept the polls and Dr.M.Channa Reddy became the sixth Chief Minister of A.P. on the 6th of March 1978. He announced that separate Telangana was no longer an issue. Owing to some factional squabbles in the party, Dr.Channa Reddy resigned in October 1980 and was succeeded by T.Anjaiah, who remained in office only for one year and four months. In February 1982, he was replaced by Sri Bhavanam Venkataram, who in turn was replaced by Sri K.Vijaya Bhaskara Reddy in September 1982. Thus Andhra Pradesh was administered by four Chief Ministers in four years.

Frequent changes of the Chief Ministers by the Congress High Command created dissatisfaction among the people. Taking advantage of this popular discontent, Sri N.T.Rama Rao, a leading figure of the film world formed a regional party called `Telugu Desam' in January, 1983 and contested the General Elections to the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly held in 1983. His party became victorious and Sri Rama Rao was sworn in as the tenth Chief Minister of the State. But, on the 16th of August 1984, Sri Nadendla Bhaskara Rao, a cabinet colleague of Sri Rama Rao, succeeded in becoming the Chief Minister by engineering the dismissal of Sri Rama Rao by the then Governor. However, Sri Rama Rao was reinstated on the 16th of September 1984 consequent on the severe criticism on the action of Governor. In the elections of March 1985, Sri Rama Rao proved that he continued to enjoy the confidence of people by winning absolute majority in the House.

The Telugu people who were not quite pleased with some of the policies of the Telugu Desam Government, returned Congress in 1989 general elections to the State Legislature with good majority. During the following five years, three Chief Ministers, Dr.M.Channa Reddy, Sri N.Janardhana Reddy and Sri K.Vijaya Bhaskara Reddy held the reins of power. The discontentment of the Telugu public was reflected in pushing the Congress out and handing over the power again to the Telugu Desam Party in 1994. In 1995 N.T.Rama Rao, has been succeeded by Sri N.Chandrababu Naidu, returned Congress in 2004 Dr.Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, the present Chief Minister of the State.

The changing fortunes of the political parties at the hustings is, besides other things, a sure indication of the people's awareness of their rights and privileges and their mature judgement of the relative performance of the ruling parties.

A list of Chief Ministers and Governors of the State with their period of stay in the office from the formation of the State in 1956 till February, 1999 is given below: