NEW DELHI: The Congress on Wednesday accused the government of betraying the people of Andhra Pradesh by denying 'special category status' to the state and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is "trampling upon Constitutionalism" by disregarding the promise made by his predecessor Manmohan Singh.
It is time for Modi and the BJP to "walk their talk", Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said and added that the government is a continuing entity.
"Trampling upon Constitutionalism and backstabbing the trust of people have become synonymous with the BJP.
The new BJP government has broken its first solemn promise by bluntly refusing to grant 'special category status' to Andhra Pradesh and disrespecting the provisions of Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014," Surjewala said in a statement.
He said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman (who hails from Andhra Pradesh) stated in Parliament that "there was no proposal under consideration of the Central government to grant Special Category Status (SCS) to any state", This, the Congress leader alleged, is a "shameful betrayal" of Andhra Pradesh's nine crore people.
"People of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are waiting. It is time for the PM Shri Narendra Modi and the BJP to walk their talk," he said.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi has repeatedly raised the issue and the need to fulfil the financial commitment to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Surjewala said.
"We hope the new government of YSRCP will take stridently take up this important issue with BJP," he said.
On February 20, 2014, Surjewala said, when the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Bill 2014 was being discussed Manmohan Singh made a solemn commitment on the floor of Parliament as prime minister -- that for purposes of central assistance, special category status will be extended to the successor state of Andhra Pradesh.
This commitment of special category status to the newly carved out state of Andhra Pradesh had been discussed with then leader of opposition Arun Jaitley and other senior BJP leaders and they agreed on the same, he said.
"The Government is a continuing entity. Commitments made on the floor of the House have to be honoured and fulfilled. They are in the nature of assurance on behalf of the Parliament. The Congress party had expected its successor, the previous BJP Govt, to fulfill the commitment that a Prime Minister of India had made," the Congress leader said.
He said Modi lectured the Congress party on the subject of respecting former prime ministers and previous governments, but "all this tall talk remains hollow and bogus, if his Govt does not fulfil the solemn promise made by a Former PM in Parliament".
What better tribute can a government pay to former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh and former prime minister P V Narasimha Rao than fulfilling the aspirations and will of the people of the state to which he belonged, Surjewala asked.
"Sadly, an FM from AP is now denying this claim," he said.