Hyderabad, Dec 19: 2014 will go down as a watershed year in the geo-political history of Andhra Pradesh, marked the end of an era of a state that remained one for close to 57 years and the beginning of a new era in which the state got a re-birth.
The first linguistic state of the country, Andhra became Andhra Pradesh in 1956 with the amalgamation of parts of the erstwhile Hyderabad state. 2014 saw the "de-merger" of those same parts, with the creation of a new state called Telangana, leaving Andhra Pradesh to its pre-1956 shape.
The process for the separation was set in motion in late 2013 but the formalities were completed this year after Parliament cleared the AP Re-organisation Bill in February. It caused a political upheaval as the state government of the day, headed by then Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, stepped down in protest and Andhra Pradesh was brought under President's rule on March 1 after a gap of 41 years.
The Centre subsequently set June 2 as the "Appointed Day" for the formal birth of Telangana state even as the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly polls were scheduled in April-May along with Lok Sabha elections.
People of coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions, who steadfastly opposed the state's bifurcation till the last minute, took things in their stride when the "inevitable" happened.
"Forward-looking", as they are known, people of Andhra Pradesh left the bifurcation saga behind them only to surge ahead with new hopes and aspirations. They, however, converted their seething displeasure over the Centre's "unilateral and highhanded" action into unequivocal anger against the Congress and gave it a political burial in a state that remained its citadel in the last decade.
That the Congress could win nothing - from a village panchayat, the lowest in political power stakes, to Lok Sabha, the highest - in successive elections held this year in Andhra Pradesh clearly established the vengeance with which the voters struck.
They not only scripted the Congress' political obituary, but also gave a new lease of life to the Telugu Desam Party in general and its chief N Chandrababu Naidu in particular, who otherwise faced the threat of going into political oblivion. They reposed faith in him, as Chandrababu was seen as the "man for the moment" who could steer the "sunrise state" on the path to glory.
The elections also sealed the fate of young leader Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, whose aimed to become chief minister of the state.