The YSR Congress, which is the fourth largest party with 22 members in the Lok Sabha, Sunday said it would not accept the post of Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha unless the Narendra Modi government fulfilled its demand of granting special status to Andhra Pradesh, PTI reported.
While there has not been any formal offer made regarding the Deputy Speaker’s post, there have been indications, a YSR Congress leader said. 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.
“The party does not want this post, as it will be seen as aligning with the ruling dispensation. The party won’t do that until and unless Centre gives special status to Andhra Pradesh,” the YSR Congress leader told PTI, adding that the party had made its stance clear to the BJP leadership.
The party has maintained that it wanted to ensure equidistance from both the Opposition as well as the ruling side.
“Opposition, especially the Congress, is also responsible for Andhra Pradesh not getting the special status tag. It bifurcated the state but did not give it special status. So we will also be maintaining distance from them too,” the leader said.
However, the party may extend its support to the ruling dispensation on certain issues which would be in favour of the larger interest of the country, the leader added.
Reddy has already met Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah to press for special status for the state. A few weeks ago, PM Modi said the newly-elected Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister would receive all support from the Centre. “Jagan Mohanji will take Andhra Pradesh forward and the Centre will provide all support,’’ Modi said at a meeting of BJP workers at Renigunta.
(with PTI inputs)