New Delhi: Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday accused Narendra Modi government of failing to fulfill commitments made to the people of Andhra Pradesh when Telangana was carved out of it, a charge rejected by the government.
Gandhi, who participated in a debate after a long time, said she wondered why the sense of urgency was not being shown by the government in fulfilling key commitments made to the people there "who have been waiting patiently for over nine months" and feel they have been "taken for granted".
Initiating the debate on a bill which seeks to increase the number of members in the Andhra Pradesh legislative council, she said then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had committed in Rajya Sabha that Andhra Pradesh would be granted special category status.
The Union Cabinet had then approved the decision and directed the Planning Commission to implement it, she said.
"But it is disappointing to find that the government has not shown any interest in fulfilling these commitments. This is even more preplexing given that the BJP and the TDP are in coalition at the Centre and the state," the Congress chief said.
Gandhi said the 14th Finance Commission has not done "full justice" to the needs of the state and accused the government of "sadly" not doing anything "substantial" for funding the new capital for the state.
She said she has written twice in this regard to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was present in the House.
Referring to various infrastructural commitments, she said "the people of Andhra Pradesh are deeply anguished over the apathy being shown to them by this government. Nine long months have gone by and they are beginning to feel that they are being taken for granted."
After Gandhi spoke, Parliamentary Affairs M Venkaiah Naidu intervened in the debate and said he agrees with the Congress President about problems being faced by people of AP.
"But the government has inherited the situation and is trying to address the concerns...People talk of nine months, nine weeks...You took nine-and-a-half years to bring the bill and we took nine months. It is less time as compared..."
Naidu's remarks had Congress members on their feet and there was a verbal spat between BJP and Congress benches.
In an apparent dig at UPA, Naidu said the original Andhra
Pradesh Reorganisation Act had some mistakes which forced the government to bring the amendment bill.
He said some "extra intelligent" people had "miscalculated" the number of Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council members to 50 which actually should have beeen 58 and the amendment bill seeks to achieve this objective.
After the division, AP was left with 175 members in the assembly and 50 in the state legislative council. Since one- third of 175 was 58, it was decided to increase the strength of the state's Upper House.
Naidu said while Manmohan Singh and he himself had supported special status for AP, it was not part of the bill brought by the UPA. When Gandhi asked whether BJP opposed special status, Naidu said, "It is not that, madam."
He said the UPA had promised but failed to bring an ordinance on Polavaram project. "But in its first cabinet meeting, our government cleared that ordinance," he said.