Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Friday met Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday to press for special status for the state and to discuss issues related to the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, ahead of the Governing Council meeting of the Niti Aayog on Saturday.
Jagan, who won by a landslide in the recently-concluded Assembly elections in the state, arrived at the ministry around 5.30 pm and spoke with Shah for over thirty minutes.
Speaking to reporters after the meet, Jagan said the agenda of his visit to the capital was “ to try and prevail on him (Shah) and also soften the PM’s (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) heart on the issue of the special category status, which we’ll definitely be asking for in tomorrow’s NITI Aayog meeting. The agenda of my visit was tomorrow’s meeting. Tomorrow, we’ll be presenting our case to the NITI Aayog, which is chaired by the Prime Minister.”
On whether his party would accept the post of deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Jagan told The Indian Express, “This matter was not even discussed.”
Functionaries close to Jagan said apart from the special status, the CM also discussed a revenue deficit of over Rs 16,000 crore in Andhra, following its bifurcation from Telangana. “Because of Hyderabad, Telangana earns higher revenue than AP. We have to bridge this gap. We want Centre to assist in this. The CM has broached this subject with the Home Minister,” said a source.
He added that the issue of early completion of Polavaram dam and reimbursement of Rs 5,000 crore spent by the state on its construction were also discussed. Notably, former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu had earlier claimed that the Centre had stopped releasing funds for the dam, which is a Central government project, and that the state government had continued its construction on its own.
Special status for Andhra Pradesh is a pivotal issue for Jagan as it was one of his key thrusts during the run up to the Assembly elections. He had ridiculed former Naidu for failing to secure the status from the Centre, despite being an ally of the BJP in the NDA government. The traction of Jagan’s arguments with the public had forced Naidu to snap ties with the BJP and launch an all-out campaign against Modi.
However, a landslide victory for the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls has shrunk negotiating space for Jagan. He has had meetings with PM Narendra Modi and Amit Shah earlier as well on the issue.