Ranchi: Two opposition parties Saturday called a shutdown March 2 to seek special status for Jharkhand on the lines of that to be given to Seemandra after Telangana is carved out of Andhra Pradesh.
The opposition parties wanted to pass a resolution in the assembly, condemning the central government move to grant special state status to Seemandra while ignoring the long-standing demand of Jharkhand. But, the state government did not agree.
The two opposition parties -- All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P)) have called the shutdown.
"The special state status demand is our long-standing demand. The central government is ignoring the demand of the state where more than 50 percent live below the poverty line," said Pradeep Yadav of the JVM-P.
"The Raghurajan committee report says Jharkhand is in fifth position and Andhra Pradesh 14th as far as backwardnesss is concerned. Ignoring the Raghuram Rajan committee report, Jharkhand has not been accorded special status," Sudesh Mahto, president of AJSU, told reporters.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has also criticised the central government`s move to ignore Jharkhand`s demand.
"We are raising the special status issue since 2004. That year, a three-member cabinet ministers` team met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and demanded special economic package of Rs.10,000 crore for infratrastructure development. Our chief minister had been raising the issue of the special status in the National Development Council and other meetings with the central government," Raghubar Das of the BJP told reporters.
Jharkhand Congress has supported the special status demand but alleged that opposition was resorting to politics over the issue.
"Everyone in Jharkhand wants special status but the opposition parties are doing politics over the issue," K.N. Tripathy, a minister in the Hemant Soren government and a Congress legislator told reporter.