Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has asked all political parties in the state for 'constructive agitation' to press their demand for special category status. Naidu's appeal came at an all-party meeting called by the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) to discuss the demand.
Naidu told the leaders gathered for the all-party meet that Andhra Pradesh's struggle for special category status was 'dharma yudh'. He also trained his guns at both the Congress-led UPA and the BJP-led NDA for failing to fulfil their promise to grant special status to Andhra Pradesh.
"The then UPA government had assured five years of special status to Andhra and the then opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demanded ten years. But after the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) came to the power, they did not fulfil their promises," Naidu said, according to news agency IANS.
Naidu also refuted the claim made by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, that the Centre is unable to grant special status to Andhra Pradesh because such a provision has been done away with under the 15th Finance Commission. He quoted the special status given to the states in the Northeast to substantiate his criticism.
Naidu's TDP had first quit the Union Cabinet and subsequently exited the ruling NDA over the demand for special status. It had said it would support the no-confidence motion against the Centre by the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), which is the main opposition party in Andhra Pradesh.
The YSRCP for its part, repeatedly attempted to bring the no-confidence motion in the Budget Session of Parliament. It had announced last week that at the end of this Parliament session, all of its MPs would resign from the Lok Sabha. The YSRCP had also appealed to the TDP to do the same.
The issue of special category status, which would bring more Central funds to the state, has seen the ruling party and the opposition on the same side. The all-party meet called by the TDP is seen as an attempt to forge a common platform, at least as far as the demand goes.
(With inputs from ANI)