2009: Andhra Pradesh's annus horriblis
Andhra Pradesh was plagued by bad news in 2009. The year has seen th state go through some of the worst turmoil in recent times. Mohammed Siddique looks back at the state's annus horriblis
There has been rarely a more disastrous, sad and heartrending year for Andhra Pradesh than 2009. The year began with one scandal and ended with another disgrace and was punctuated by several calamities in between.
It was in the second week of the year that Satyam Computers, an iconic symbol of Telegu pride, crumbled as its founder chairman B Ramalinga Raju stunned the entire country by admitting to perpetrating one of the biggest financial scams.
Raju, admitting that he had cooked the account books of the company to the tune of Rs 8000 crore and swindled the funds, was arrested by the police. Later the case was taken over by the Central Bureau of Investigation which has filed a charge sheet against Raju and other scamsters including his younger brother Rama Raju, chief financial officer Srinivas Vadlamani. The investigators are yet to acertain where the swindled money has gone.
The only silver lining in the darkest hour for corporate India was the way the central government went all out to save the third largest IT company in India and also saved the jobs of 40,000 odd employees of the company. As Satyam's share price and prestige nose-dived, Mahindra & Mahindra took over the company to give it a new lease of life.
Image: Ramalinga Raju, chairman, Chairman of the scam-hit Satyam Computers
The death of YSR marked a turning point
It was also a year of elections in Andhra Pradesh. In May, Y S Rajasekhar Reddy, overcoming tough challenge from the opposition led the Congress party to power for second consecutive time in the state, albeit with a narrow margin. Reddy played a major role in the United Progressive Alliance coming back to power at the center as the party won 33 Lok Sabha seat, highest number from a single state. The celebrations, however, proved short lived.
September proved to be the beginning of a tragic phase in the state's history. It was on the stormy morning of September 2 that chopper carrying Reddy, went missing while flying from Hyderabad to Chittoor. It had crashed in the dense Nallamalla forest in Kurnool district and heavy rains and inclement weather made search operations impossible.
It was unprecedented search operation, involving satellites and Sukhois. The wreckage along with charred bodies were found by the Indian Air Force next morning, drowning the state into mourning as people wailed over the loss of a popular leader.
77-year-old veteran Ken Rosaiah took over as the chief minister as the Congress suddenly became a rudderless ship. Group rivalries resurfaced as a majority demanded the anointment of YSR's son Jaganmohan Reddy as CM. Both the party and the state suffered collateral damage due to the political uncertainty. However, the high command chose to ignore the campaign in favour of Jaganmohan and Rosaiah continued as CM.
Image: Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajshekhar Reddy
Photographs: Snaps India
Disaster struck twice in two months
The second disaster struck exactly in a month's time as the unprecedented rains and floods wrought misery and pain, never seen before. Millions were rendered homeless, throwing life out of gear in several districts as the state suffered huge losses.
The districts of Mahbubnagar, Kurnool, Krishna and Guntur are yet to recover from the shock, trauma and losses and many displaced families are still languishing in temporary huts and tents, months after the flood waters receeded.
Image: Flood-affected people protest against the lack of supplies at Bannur village near Hyderabad
Photographs: Reuters/Krishnendu Halder
The struggle for Telangana
This was also the year of Telangana. It was for the first time since 1969-70 that the demand for separate state of Telangana came to the fore with such intensity and magnitude. Spearheaded by K Chandrasekhara Rao of Telangana Rashtra Samiti the movement engulfed the entire region and has all the political parties on edge.
As KCR's fast unto death starting from November 29 fueled the anger among the youth, the movement in to a people's uprising of sorts. For the first time in the five decade long history of struggle for Telangana, the central government gave a clean and categorical assurance.
The announcement of Union Home Minister P Chidambaram that the Centre was going to initiate the process for the formation of Telangana state, the anger turned in to joy and celebrations and the Telangana youth hailed it as "second freedom".
But as Telangana returned to peace, fires of protest and anger erupted in the other two regions of Andhra and Rayala Seema in opposition to Telangana and continued till the second statement of Chidambaram saying the Centre will hold wide range discussions with all the parties on Telangana.
Image: TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao on a fast unto death in Hyderabad
Photographs: Snaps India
The Telangana issue has hogged the headlines
The Centre has invited all the parties for talks, but few expect a quick result or an end to the uncertainty. This month long trouble has exposed the doublespeak of all the major political players.
The Congress, Telugu Desam Party and Praja Rajyam Party, who had committed themselves to Telangana state, now stand divided on the issue.
Image: A pro-Telangana supporter throws a a brick at police during a protest in Hyderabad
Photographs: Reuters/ Krishnendu Halder
The N D Tiwari sex scandal rocked the state
As ABN channel claimed that the man with three women in the photos was the Andhra Pradesh Governor ND Tiwari, the Centre forced 86-year-old politician to pack up and leave.
After a year, which has seen the state go through one its worst phases, the people are praying that 2010 should not be a repeat of 2009.
Image: Scandal hit former Andhra Pradesh Governor Narain Dutt Tiwari
Photographs: Phal S. Girota