Hyderabad: TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao today took over as the first Chief Minister of Telangana as the stroke of midnight hour heralded its birth as the 29th state of the Union, capping decades of turbulent existence of the region in Andhra Pradesh.
Turning the clock back 57 years when Telugu-speaking Telangana region of Hyderabad was merged with Andhra State in November 1956, a new state of Telangana came into being, marking a culmination of numerous struggles for statehood.
It is for the first time since 2000, when three new states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand were carved out of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh during NDA's rule at the Centre that a new state has been created. It is also the first outside the Hindi belt.
60-year-old Rao, who quit the Telugu Desam Party and floated Telangana Rashtra Samiti in 2001 to champion the cause of separate statehood, was sworn in as Chief Minister by Governor E S L Narasimhan.
His son K T Rama Rao, nephew T Harish Rao and nine others were also sworn in.
Nine other Cabinet Ministers were sworn in the new state -Mohammed Mahmood Ali, T Rajaiah, Nayani Narasimha Reddy, Eatela Rajender, Pocharam Srinivasa Reddy, T Padma Rao, P Mahender Reddy, Jogu Ramanna and G Jagadish Reddy.
Earlier Narasimhan, who was appointed Governor of both states, was administered the oath of office by Andhra Pradesh High Court Chief Justice Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta.
Soon after taking oath, Rao, popularly called KCR, vowed to root out “political corruption” and establish transparency in governance.
Often dubbed as a “rabble rouser” by his detractors, KCR, who steered his party to triumph in the recently concluded Legislative Assembly elections, winning 63 of the 119 seats in Telangana region, started off on a populist note as he promised to waive farm loans upto Rs one lakh.
“People of Telangana are looking forward to a progressive and development-oriented state. We will work in that direction and ensure a transparent administration,” he said addressing the ceremonial parade to mark the Telangana Formation Day at the Parade Grounds in Secunderabad.
“In the next five years, the TRS government will spend Rs one lakh crore for the welfare on SCs, STs, Backward Classes and minorities. Of this, Rs 50,000 crore will be spent on SC welfare alone,” he announced.
Earlier, the President's Rule imposed in Andhra Pradesh was revoked partially to facilitate the swearing in of the government in the newly-created state.
The Central rule will, however, continue in the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh till TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu, whose party has emerged victorious there, takes oath. President's rule was imposed in Andhra Pradesh on March 1 after N Kiran Kumar Reddy resigned as Chief Minister following Parliament's nod for bifurcation of the state to create separate Telangana.
Today's swearing-in ceremony was not without its share of controversy as Naidu, who is likely to take oath on June 8 at a ceremony between Vijaywada and Guntur skipped it, in a manifestation of the underlying acrimony between the two political heavyweights.
Sources said the TDP President was peeved that there was neither a personal invitation nor a telephone call but only a routine invitation from the administration.
Welcoming the formation of Telangana, Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised complete Central support to help take the state to newer heights of progress.
“India gets a new state! We welcome Telangana as our 29th state. Telangana will add strength to our development journey in the coming years,” Modi tweeted.
“Centre assures complete support to the people & Government of Telangana in taking the state to newer heights of progress,” Modi said, as he recalled the struggle and sacrifices made in the process of creation of the new state.
For KCR, who started out in politics as a Congressman and then joined TDP before quitting it with a handful of supporters in 2001 to launch an agitation for Telangana statehood, it was a moment of triumph.
Rao had succeeded in reigniting the dying embers of numerous struggles for Telangana statehood through a series of agitations that kept Andhra Pradesh on the boil.