Hyderabad/Vijayawada: Telangana and Andhra Pradesh celebrated the 73rd Independence Day with patriotic fervour on Thursday.
The celebrations across the Telugu states were marked by hoisting of the national flag, speeches and programmes highlighting the sacrifices of the freedom fighters, cultural shows and playing of patriotic songs.
The Chief Ministers of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh led the celebrations in their respective states with the unfurling of the tricolour at the main official functions to mark the occasion.
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao hoisted the national flag at the historic Golconda Fort and addressed the gathering.
He earlier hoisted the national flag at the Pragati Bhavan, the Chief Minister's official residence, and visited the Martyrs' Memorial at Secunderabad Parade Ground to offer floral tributes.
Performance by the artistes, reflecting the rich culture of Telangana, was the highlight of the main celebrations.
KCR, as Rao is popularly known, was presented a guard of honour by the police contingents, including one from Odisha.
Like in the last five years, there was no demonstration by tableaux and the number of policemen and students participating in the parade was limited due to lack of space.
KCR addressed the gathering highlighting the achievements of his government and outlining its plans to realise the dream of 'golden Telangana'.
His cabinet colleagues, Chief Secretary S.K. Joshi, Director General of Police M. Mahender Reddy and other top civil, police and military officials attended the ceremony.
After the formation of the state in 2014, KCR had departed from the over five-decade-old tradition of holding Independence Day celebrations at the Parade Ground to choose the ancient fort as the venue to showcase the rich legacy of Telangana.
In Andhra Pradesh, the official celebrations were held at the Indira Gandhi Municipal Stadium in Vijayawada.
Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy hoisted the national flag and received a salute from police contingents. He reviewed the colourful parade by various wings of the police department.
The Chief Minister also presented awards to some police officers for their meritorious service.
This was the first Independence Day celebration for Jagan Reddy as the Chief Minister after he led the YSR Congress Party to power in the elections held in April.
Tableaux by 13 departments highlighted the various welfare and development schemes of the state government.
Ministers, Director General of Police Gautam Sawang, Chief Secretary L.V. Subrahmanyam and other officials were present on the occasion.
I-Day celebrations were also held at the state legislature, high court, various government buildings and offices of the political parties in both the states.
Andhra Pradesh Assembly Speaker T. Sitaram and Council Chairman Muhammad Sharif Ahmad hoisted the national flag at the state legislature complex in Amaravati.
Leader of Opposition in Andhra Pradesh Assembly, N. Chandrababu Naidu, hoisted the tricolour at his residence in Hyderabad. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) President also greeted people on the occasion.
Telangana Assembly Speaker P. Srinivas Reddy and Council Chairman K. Swamy Goud participated at the Independence Day celebrations at the legislature building in Hyderabad.
Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) working President K.T. Rama Rao hoisted the national flag at the party headquarters in Telangana Bhavan in Hyderabad.
Jana Sena Party (JSP) President and popular actor Pawan Kalyan unfurled the national flag at the party office in Amaravati.
I-Day celebrations were also held at the offices of the opposition Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other parties in Hyderabad, Amaravati and Vijayawada.