Hyderabad: Special category status and other promises made to Andhra Pradesh during bifurcation last year have become a hot political issue after opposition parties including the Congress began hitting out at the ruling BJP and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) alliance.
The Congress, which is trying to revive its fortunes in Andhra Pradesh after being routed in the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections last year, has launched a signature campaign to mount pressure on the Centre to keep promises made to AP during bifurcation, party sources said here today.
Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) President N Raghuveera Reddy met Congress President Sonia Gandhi yesterday and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi today to discuss the issue, sources said.
The Congress plans to raise the issue in both the Houses of the Parliament, Raghuveera Reddy told PTI from Delhi on Thursday.
The Left parties in Andhra Pradesh have also started agitating by raising the issue.
The residual state of Andhra Pradesh which faces a deficit of about Rs 16,000 crore due to the loss of Hyderabad after formation of Telangana, was promised special category status, special development package, tax incentives for industrialisation, setting up of several central institutions as well as assistance in building a new capital, among others.
Some of these promises were included in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, and then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had also made other promises in Parliament when the Telangana Bill was passed.
Taking exception to the Congress attack, Andhra Pradesh BJP spokesman Sudheesh Rambhotla said that the Centre had already announced a Rs 850-crore package to the state recently.
"Ten national level institutions have been announced. It
has been announced that Vijayawada and Tirupati would be made international airports, while night landing facility would be introduced in Rajahmundry airport," Rambhotla said.
"A waterway to link Kakinada-Chennai-Puducherry has been announced. The NH-216, a four-lane road linking Kakinada, Pamarru and Ongole has been announced. Only three states are selected for 24-hour power supply by the Centre and AP is among them. Many other programmes are being implemented," he said.
Congress and other parties could do politicking later since elections are still four-and-half-years away and they could extend co-operation to the state's development at present, Rambhotla said.
Recently, AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to pursue the matter.
Speaking to PTI recently, Advisor (Communications) to AP government Parakala Prabhakar recalled Jaitley saying that the promises made to the state during bifurcation would be met.