Andhra bank merger: People take to social media, YSRC writes to PM, FM

 Amaravati: Common citizens on Saturday expressed displeasure through social media while ruling YSR Congress wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, opposing merger of Andhra Bank with other banks, saying it hurt the sentiments of Telugu people.

YSRC MP from Machilipatnam, V Balashowry pointed out that the “pride and prestige of Telugu people” was attached with Andhra Bank and merging it with other banks hurt the sentiments of Telugu people.

“Besides, it is recognized world over as a Telugu Bank,” he added.

Balashowry, in his letter welcomed the Centres move to consolidate the public sector banks, but said Telugu people have strong reservations on the proposed merger of Andhra Bank with Union Bank of India and Corporation Bank.

“Their reservations are justified. I represent the parliamentary constituency Machilipatnam where the seeds of Andhra Bank were sown by late Dr. Bhogaraju Pattabhi Seetaramaiah nearly a century ago with an initial paid up capital of just Rs one lakh and authorized capital of Rs 10 lakh. He said that with the ‘strenuous efforts’ of staff of Andhra Bank, successive governments and Telugu people, the bank’s operations “spread by leaps and bounds” and its business turnover now stood at more than Rs four lakh crore. He suggested that the name Andhra Bank be retained if the Centre was keen on the amalgamation and locate the new banks headquarters either in Machilipatnam or Vijayawada. “This is the wish and prayer of Telugu people,” the MP added.

Many people from Andhra Pradesh posted messages on Facebook, expressing sadness that Andhra Bank, which “symbolized Telugu pride” would no longer exist. Facebook users posted pictures of the bank’s founder Bhogaraju Pattibhi Seetaramaiah, who was a freedom fighter and the first president of Congress in Independent India, and recalled his services.

“Sad, as AB was a part of history of my hometown Machilipatnam,” Facebook user J Umanadh posted, with a newspaper clip of the Union Finance Ministers announcement of the proposed merger of Andhra Bank with Union Bank of India and Corporation Bank.

“It is part of the history of Telugu people,” another user remarked.

A retired Central government employee Ramana Rao wrote that “at least the name Andhra Bank should be retained”, while another suggested that Bhogaraju Pattabhi Seetaramaiah’s picture be displayed in every branch of the (merged) bank.

As the “daughter-in-law of Andhra Pradesh”, they hoped, Sitharaman would positively consider their request and retain Andhra Bank’s name. Congress Rajya Sabha member K V P Ramachandra Rao also wrote to the Union Finance Minister, saying the merger of the bank “entangled with the honor of the Telugu people and camouflaging its name permanently hurts their feelings definitely”.

“I strongly feel that this at least shall not happen when a daughter-in-law of Andhra state is heading the Union Ministry of Finance. I, therefore, request you to take a firm decision to continue Andhra Bank as a separate PSU or, if merger is inevitable in the interest of national economy, at least retain the name to the new bank as a mark of reverence to Bhogaraju Pattabhi Seetaramaiah and also as a mark of respect to the sentiment of 10 crore Telugu-speaking people,”he said.

The union government had on Friday unveiled a mega plan to merge 10 public sector banks into four with a view to create fewer and stronger global-sized lenders with robust balance sheets that can be used to boost credit and spur growth.