Amid TDP’s crucial support at Centre, demand for ‘Special category Status’ to Andhra comes to fore

BJP during the run-up to the 2014 General Elections promised that the SCS would be accorded to Andhra Pradesh if voted to power.


Published Jun 07, 2024 | 10:07 AM Updated Jun 07, 2024 | 10:07 AM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took out a road show in Vijayawada, and was joined by his alliance partners, N Chandrababu Naidu of the TDP and Pawan Kalyan of the Jana Sena Party. (X)

As the TDP chief, Chandrababu Naidu leaves for Delhi to attend the NDA meeting on Friday, 7 June, the long pending demand for “Special Category Status” for Andhra Pradesh has once again gained momentum.

Telugu Desam party and Janasena won 16 and two MPs seats respectively from AP, which could prove to be crucial for forming a coalition government at the Centre, with BJP lacking the numbers this time to form a government on its own.

Naidu is expected to be in New Delhi until 9 June for the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi, said a TDP source.

“Several prominent leaders are evincing interest to meet Chandrababu in Delhi. He is expected to be busy over the next three days,” the source told PTI.

Also Read: Will PM fulfil his promise of giving special status to Andhra, Bihar, asks Congress

Directs all MPs to win

Earlier, Naidu directed all party MPs to attend NDA’s meeting in New Delhi on Friday.

Naidu held a meeting with the available MPs at his Andhra Pradesh residence in Undavalli around 11.30 am while outstation MPs joined virtually. More than half a dozen MPs attended in person.

He congratulated the MPs on their victory in the elections and told them that all the TDP MPs are expected to reach the national capital by Thursday night.

NDA won a landslide victory in Andhra Pradesh with a majority of 164 assembly and 21 Lok Sabha seats, catapulting Naidu to a kingmaker’s role in national politics.

Meanwhile, the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSRCP has been relegated to a paltry 11 assembly and four MP seats.

Special category status

The BJP in its poll campaigns during the run-up to the 2014 General Elections promised that the SCS would be accorded to Andhra Pradesh if voted to power.

SCS, which was about additional central funds among others, was promised to Andhra Pradesh by the then central Congress government in the wake of the southern state’s bifurcation and the creation of Telangana in 2014.

However, it was shelved for various reasons including enhancement of devolution of funds to the states from 30 percent to 41 percent.

Replying to a query in the parliament, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharama in June 2019 said there was no proposal under consideration of the Central Government for grant of Special Category Status though there were requests from Odisha, Rajasthan, Bihar, Telangana, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh.

According to her, SCS for plan assistance was granted in the past by the National Development Council (NDC) to some States that were characterised by a number of features necessitating special consideration.

‘Oppertune moment’

When contacted, former IPS officer and Jai Bharat National Party founder VV Lakshminarayana said this is an “opportune moment” to demand the SCS for Ap as TDP’s support at the Centre became crucial.

The BJP did not live up to its word in the past 10 years and even went to the extent of asserting that the SCS was a closed chapter, which was replaced by a “Special Package”, which was welcomed by TDP supremo Naidu when he was the CM between 2014 and 2018.

The outgoing Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy castigated Naidu for accepting the Special package.

Later, TDP took a U-turn and demanded the then central government grant of SCS and finally severed ties with NDA in 2018

Political analyst Telakapalli Ravi said the TDP should demand the BJP to accord SCS for the state given the fact that its support at the Centre is crucial.

He, however, said the status may not be possible now as already ten long years have passed after the bifurcation of the state.

Senior Journalist S Nagesh Kumar said the TDP should focus more on demanding funds to construct capital Amaravati and finish the Polavaram project instead of seeking SCS or a Special package which was offered in lieu of the status.

Also Read: Chandrababu Naidu reiterates he is with the NDA

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