Laying the ground for next year’s Lok Sabha elections, Congress President Rahul Gandhi said the party was in favour of Special Category Status for Andhra Pradesh. Gandhi said bestowing the state with Special Category Status would be the topmost priority of the Congress if it comes to power in 2019. The demand for the special category for the southern state has been an incessant issue ever since the inception of Telangana in 2014.
“We are for Special Category Status for Andhra Pradesh. The first thing we will do when we come to power in 2019 is give the state Special Category Status. I am confident that if we stand together, we will convince the Centre and PM Modi that what is due to people of state should be given,” Gandhi said. The Congress chief’s remarks come at a time when the ruling TDP has stepped up efforts for the special category status and disrupted House proceedings during the first half of the Budget session.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, whose party is in alliance with the BJP, had last month said Special Category Status was the state’s right and that they would continue to fight for it. Naidu said that in the last three-and-a-half years, Andhra Pradesh achieved a lot of growth, but it would have done much better had all the promises made in Parliament and assurances given in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, were fulfilled and implemented.
The CM said that after the state’s bifurcation, Andhra Pradesh was given a raw deal and it is encountering problems. “It is the responsibility of the Centre to implement the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, and fulfil the promises made, including giving the Special Category Status to AP,’’ he said.