In one of the shortest ever functions to mark the formation day celebrations of Andhra Pradesh organised by the government on Friday against the backdrop of the Centre’s decision to divide the State, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy said that he was praying to ‘Telugu talli’ (mother) to ensure that the fete was held every year.

His speech in Telugu, lasting just eight minutes, opened with how the State was formed in 1956 on linguistic basis. The event was marked by black flag demonstrations in several places of Telangana and demonstrations by the cadre of Telangana Rashtra Samiti cadre. The national tricolour was hoisted by District Collectors at the events which was boycotted by public representatives in Telangana.

The 50 minute function at NTR stadium here was also confined to officials, school children, policemen, family members of award winners and media personnel who were in all not more than 1,000. The venue was closed to general public with multi-layer security cordon from RTC crossroads on one side and Tank Bund on the other.

Six Ministers were present at the function.

The tableux of government departments which showcased the developmental programmes were conspicuous by their absence but cultural performances were staged by school children with a girl dressed as ‘Telugu talli’. Police contingents staged marched past the dais as the Chief Minister took the salute.

Mr. Reddy expressed a sense of exasperation saying the people were wondering whether the formation day celebrations would be held at all and added that the State was going through a phase of uncertain political future.

He referred to the supreme sacrifice of Potti Sriramulu and the exit of Burgula Ramakrishna Rao as the Chief Minister of erstwhile Hyderabad State to pave way for the formation of the State. Thereafter, political giants as Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy and P.V. Narasimha Rao strove for the development of the State, he said and paid tributes to them.

He also referred to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as a staunch supporter of integrated State and said she contested an election from the State only because she trusted the Telugu speaking people. He also said the State was strong economically and politically only because of the integration of its people.

His government implemented unprecedented and historic programmes like the Bangaru talli and SC/ST sub-plan with the cooperation of the people. It laid emphasis on power generation and basic needs of people. Extension of input subsidy and interest free crop loans were its achievements.

Mr. Reddy distributed awards to officials, including policemen, who rendered meritorious service.