Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has called an all-party meeting to discuss the demand for special status. The meeting is set to take place at the Andhra Pradesh Assembly at 11 am, news agency ANI reported.
The ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the opposition YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) have found themselves on the same side of the demand for special status to Andhra Pradesh. The meeting could help the opposing parties coordinate their actions on the issue. The Assembly may be expected to unanimously pass a resolution formally making the demand to the Centre. It should be noted that while such resolutions are powerful tools for state governments, they are not binding on the Centre.
The call for the all-party meet comes hours after the YSRCP announced that all of its MPs would resign their seats in the Lok Sabha at the end of the ongoing Budget Session of Parliament. The YSRCP also urged the Andhra Pradesh's ruling TDP to also quit the Lok Sabha. YSRCP has 7 seats in the Lok Sabha and the TDP has 11.
Naidu's TDP has had a fraught year in its relationship with the BJP and its coalition, the NDA, over the 2014 poll promise of granting special category status for Andhra Pradesh. The move was meant to ensure that the state would gain access to additional fund allocations from the Centre.
However, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said that the Centre is unable special category status to Andhra Pradesh, since the category itself has been done away with under the 15th Finance Commission. He had however promised to make the same amount of Central money available to Andhra Pradesh.
This statement had pushed the TDP to pull out of the Union Cabinet and, a week later, withdraw from the ruling BJP-led NDA. The BJP's ministers in the TDP-led Andhra Pradesh government had quit their posts in reciprocation. The move did not destabilise the NDA government.
Both the TDP and YSRCP have found themselves on the same side of the issue. The TDP had earlier said that it would support the YSRCP-sponsored no-confidence motion against the Narendra Modi government in the Lok Sabha. However, the motion is yet to be tabled in the House.