The historical town is in the cusp of another milestone as it is gearing up to celebrate the centenary of the First Andhra Conference held in 1913. It was in this conference that the demand to create a separate province for Telugu speaking people on linguistic basis was first announced. The conference was held on the premises of Edward VII Coronation Memorial Town on May 26, 1913.
The conference was attended by about 800 delegates and 3,000 visitors from the Telugu speaking districts of Madras Presidency. Eminent leaders including, Desabhakta Konda Venkatappaiah, Bogaraju Pattabhi Seetharamaiah, Mutnuri Krishnarao and Pingali Venkaiah, were present at the conference. B.N. Sarma, the then member of the Legislative Council of Madras, took the lead in organising the conference, which saw a vociferous appeal by the members to create a separate state for Telugu speaking people. Leaders like Nyayapathi Subba Rao Pantulu, M. Adinarayanaiah and Mocherla Ramachandra Rao wanted the conference to tread cautiously on the issue, but Vemavarapu Ramadas Pantulu moved a resolution at the open session in favour of a separate state.
Emotional speeches
The emotional speeches stirred up the feelings of the members to put up a united fight to achieve the goal.
They argued that though Telugu districts accounted for 40 per cent of the people and 58 per cent of the Madras Presidency, Andhras had no effective voice in the politics of the region and were treated as second class citizens in the composite province. “With considerable effort and after going through excerpts of the struggle in various books, we managed to bring a book on the conference. We are also planning to celebrate the centenary in a big way and release a commemorative stamp to mark the occasion,’’ said convenor of Forum for Better Bapatla P.C Saibabu