Vijayawada: If Andhra Pradesh made history by laying the foundation stone for new state capital Amaravati, Vijaya Dasami marked another significant development with Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao joining the event.
He flew in a helicopter from Suryapet in Nalgonda district to reach Uddandarayunipalem, where ministers from Andhra Pradesh received him.
Putting behind the bitterness that marked the Telangana movement and more recently over cash-for-vote scam, Rao accepted his Andhra Pradesh counterpart N. Chandrababu Naidu’s invitation to attend the ceremony.
Undeterred by criticism from the opposition, KCR, as Rao is popularly known, went ahead with his participation in the event.
He not only shared dais with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the select guests but his name also figured in the foundation stone pylon, a move which drew flak from a section of leaders of Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party (TDP).
This was KCR’s first visit to Andhra in many years. He never visited Andhra or Rayalaseema during the Telangana movement, which he revived by floating the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in 2001.
At the height of the movement for a separate state, he minced no words in attacking Naidu and other leaders from Andhra, blaming them for the backwardness of Telangana.
Known for his acerbic attack on his opponents, KCR triggered many controversies, which were seen as insulting and threatening by people from Andhra, especially those living in Hyderabad.
Even after bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh last year, the bitterness continued with the row over various issues including sharing of Krishna river water and electricity.
It took an ugly turn in May this year when a TDP leader of Telangana was caught red handed while offering bribe to a nominated legislator to induce him to vote for TDP candidate in legislative council elections.
The TRS accused Naidu of hatching a conspiracy to topple its governments as an audio tape of his alleged telephonic conversation with the nominated legislator was aired on some television channels.
The two chief ministers were engaged in a bitter war of words, with KCR calling his Andhra counterpart a ‘thief’. Naidu accused the TRS government of tapping his phones and sought the central government’s intervention.
Naidu, who had since started focussing on building the new state capital and is spending little time in Hyderabad, used the foundation stone laying ceremony as an occasion to bury the hatchet.
Political observers say this marks the beginning of a new chapter in the relations between the two states and will help amicably settle various inter-state disputes.
KCR has come under criticism from the Congress for attending the ground breaking ceremony, terming it an insult to the martyrs of Telangana who laid down their lives for a separate state.
Senior leader Ponnala Laxmaiah said this exposed the secret understanding between KCR and Naidu to water down the cash-for-vote and phone tapping cases against each other.
KCR brushed aside the criticism saying he accepted the invitation to keep up Telangana’s give-and-take culture.