BJP boxed into a corner over special status for AP

Ch RS Sarma Visakhapatnam | Updated on January 17, 2018

Issue puts strain on ties between BJP and ally TDP

Opposition parties in Andhra Pradesh have come together to corner the BJP — which rules the Centre — and its ally the TDP — which is in power in the State — over the issue of grant of Special Category Status.

The matter is also placing great strain on the relationship between the two allies.

Most parties other than the BJP — the ruling Telugu Desam Party, principal Opposition the YSR Congress, the Congress and the communist parties — are supporting the demand.

A Private Member’s Bill seeking special status, proposed by the Congress MP in the Rajya Sabha KVP Ramachandra Rao, could not be taken up in the House on Friday due to the commotion created by the BJP members over another issue. This is being read as a deliberate ploy to stall the introduction of the Bill. The conduct of the Treasury Benches came in for criticism from Anand Sharma (Congress), and Sitaram Yechury (CPI[M]), both of whom said the BJP MPs were deliberately stalling the Bill. TDP member CM Ramesh said the issue was very important to AP and that his party would support it.

Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien adjourned the Rajya Sabha till Monday, expressing displeasure over the conduct of the ruling party members.

The promise to grant special status to the State was made in the Rajya Sabha by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, at the time of bifurcation of the State. It had been was proposed for a period of five years. M Venkaiah Naidu, now a Union Minister and then in the Opposition, had sought the status then for ten years, arguing that five years would be insufficient. However, the issue was not included in the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, and after the BJP came to power that year it became a bone of contention between the Congress and the BJP. The TDP was also unable to raise the issue vociferously as it had allied with the BJP by then.

AP Congress chief N Raghuveera Reddy has blamed both the BJP and the TDP on the issue. “Both parties are betraying the interests of the people of the State,” he has alleged.

The TDP has accused the Congress Party of opportunistic politics.

Published on July 22, 2016

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