BANDLAPALLI (ANANTAPUR DIST):At a time when YSRC chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has been making allout efforts to raise the pitch on the ‘special category status’ to Andhra Pradesh ahead of the presentation of Union budget in Parliament, AICC vice-president too fired on all cylinders on the special status.
The move is aimed at cornering the ruling TDP-BJP combine in the State and is expected to give a fresh impetus to his party, which is struggling hard to regain its lost glory in the State post-bifurcation.
While taking part in a public meeting, organised to mark the completion of 10 years of the UPA’s flagship rural job scheme MGNREGA at Bandlapalli in Anantapur district, the AICC second-in-command tried to touch a raw nerve with the ruling TDP by raising the issue of special status to the State.
Accompanied by former prime minister Manmohan Singh and AICC heavyweights Mapanna Mallikarjun Kharge, Digvijaya Singh, Ambika Soni, Mukul Wasnik and others, the AICC vice-president used the occasion to take on the BJP-led NDA government over its failure to accord special status to residual AP, a promise made by the then UPA government in Parliament while passing the AP Reorganisation Bill.
“Narendra Modi Government should realise that the promise to accord special status to AP was not just a word given by the UPA, but a promise made by the Government of India. It is for the first time in the history of independent India that GoI has not fulfilled its own promise made to people of a State on the floor of Parliament,” Rahul Gandhi thundered.
Charging both Naidu and Jagan Mohan Reddy with compromising with the Centre on the special status issue, Rahul called upon the people of the State to question both the parties as to why they were not exerting pressure on the NDA government to fulfil all promises made at the time of bifurcation.
Interestingly, on a day when YSRC chief Jagan was taking part in his party’s ‘Yuva Bheri’ meeting, aimed at educating youth and students on the need of special status to AP at Srikakulam, the AICC vice-president expressed solidarity with the people of AP, who are demanding special status to their State.
All Parties Agreed to Special Status, Says Manmohan
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh too came down heavily on the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre for not according special status to reorganised AP, in accordance with the promise made by him in Parliament during the passage of AP Reorganisation Bill. “When the Parliament was debating the Reorganisation Bill, I, in the capacity of being the Prime Minister, promised that the Centre would accord special status to the residuary State for a period of five years. The promise was made after taking all political parties, including BJP. But, after coming to power the BJP-led NDA had dumped the promise now,” he criticised.