[President Pranab Mukherjee receiving the first copy of the book “UNIKI”, authored Governor of Maharashtra C. Vidyasagar Rao, from Chief Minister of Telangana K. Chandrashekar Rao at a function, organised by Prathima Foundation, in Hyderabad on July 03, 2015.]
Hyderabad: Amid tension between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana over various issues, President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday appealed to both the Telugu states to live in peace and harmony for the betterment of their people.
"We can choose our friends but can't choose our neighbours. Our neighbours are going to stay where they are. We may like it or may not like it but it is for us to decide whether to live with our neighbours in peace and harmony or in perpetual tension," he said while speaking at the launch of book "Uniki" written by Maharashtra Governor Vidyasagar Rao.
His appeal came against the backdrop of tension between the two Telugu states in the wake of cash-for-vote scam, allegedly involving a legislator of opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Telangana.
After an audio tape of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, who is also TDP chief, allegedly relating to the same bribery scandal surfaced last month, he accused Telangana's ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) of tapping his phone.
Andhra has already urged the central government to order probe into phone-tapping and hand over to joint governor the law and order powers in Hyderabad, the joint capital of the two states.
"My appeal to all concerned is to work in close harmony because we all belong to India and this is necessary to ensure sustainable development and to help the country get its rightful place in the comity of nations," he said, adding it was also important given the significance of Hyderabad.
"Hyderabad is not just state headquarters or capital city. It is something more," Mukherjee said, pointing out that as cyber city or Hitec city, it developed the core competence of modern-day civilization - information technology.
"It has emerged as an educational hub to the benefit of only people of this region or Telangana or Andhra Pradesh but to the benefit of whole of India," he added.
"It (Hyderabad) has its national importance. Always there will be problems particularly when a new entity is carved out, it raises many problems," the president said.
He quoted one of the 10 Biblical Commandments "love your neighbour" to underline the need for both states to live together in peace.
Mukherjee said he was sharing his views as he was personally associated with this issue (Telangana) for a long time in his earlier capacity as union minister, when he headed a committee constituted by then ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) to look into the demand for separate Telangana state and later played a key role in its formation as a member of the Congress' core group.
He also congratulated Vidyasagar Rao for bringing out this useful compilation of writings and reflections on his life and experiences. He stated that the title, which means existence, evokes a philosophical view of the issues and events that have been written about in this book.
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, who released the book, presented first copy to the president.
Telangana and Andhra Pradesh Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan, Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and Congress leader in Telangana assembly K. Jana Reddy also spoke.