Rahul Gandhi meets TDP workers over 'special category status'



Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said a united opposition can force the Narendra Modi government to give a special financial package to Andhra Pradesh to compensate for the losses it suffered following the state's division in 2014.

Rama Krishna said the Centre has been dragging on its feet on honouring the commitment of granting the special category status since 2014, when Andhra Pradesh was divided and Telangana was formed.

The first half of the Budget Session, which ended on February 9, was also marked by similar adjournments after protests by leaders from Andhra Pradesh.

Except six out of the total 102 legislators of the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh, all others favoured severing ties with the BJP-led NDA for meting out "injustice" to Andhra Pradesh.

This has turned the focus back on special category status for AP.

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The YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) on Monday said their members of Parliament (MPs) would resign from the Lok Sabha on April 6 if Andhra Pradesh is not accorded special status by April 5. "We require 50 signatures and even if we do that there will be a debate for a day or so and till the next six months we may not be able to talk about it", an MLC said quoting him. At the time, special status was promised to Andhra Pradesh for foregoing Hyderabad and the eventual status to grant it was announced in Parliament and endorsed by political parties including BJP. He added that his party MPs might join hands with Andhra Pradesh MPs in their protests if the latter are open to it.

The Chief Minister is believed to have got disappointed when he heard that the Centre had rejected the demand and the incentives to industry on the ground that other States might seek it. A Congress leader said Gandhi's appearance at the protest was not planned.

However, the status was not granted to Andhra Pradesh, leading to protests.

"But our (AP) chief minister received a call from New Delhi after which he chose to watch the developments in the coming days, based on which further decisions will be taken".

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