National

Denied special status, AP parties on warpath

Our Bureaus Visakhapatnam/Hyderabad | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on September 08, 2016

YSR Congress legislators led by its chief and Leader of Opposition YS Jaganmohan Reddy wear black shirts during a protest march to the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly, in Hyderabad, on Thursday   -  Mohammed Yousuf

Telugu Desam Party workers take out a bike rally demanding a Visakhapatnam-headquartered railway zone, in the city on Thursday. They opposed alleged attempts to shift the headquarters to Vijayawada. -- C.V. Subrahmanyam

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Central package announced on Wednesday fails to inspire Opposition; TDP puts up weak defence



Protests and criticism built up across Andhra Pradesh with Opposition parties expressing disappointment after Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s announcements on Wednesday steered clear of according ‘Special Category Status’ to the State.

The issue rocked a special session of the State Assembly convened on Thursday to extend support to the GST Bill. Main opposition YSR Congress, led by its chief YS Jaganmohan Reddy, questioned Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and the Centre for not doing justice to the people’s demands.

After a day-long suspense, Jaitley’s late-night announcement turned out to be a dampener. The Union Finance Minister expressed his inability to grant Special Category Status to the State in the aftermath of the 14th Finance Commission’s recommendations. His offer of providing financial assistance to compensate for it came in for vehement condemnation from all parties except the ruling Telugu Desam Party, which is an ally of the BJP at the Centre.

The Chief Minister, who held a press conference around midnight in Vijayawada, cautiously greeted the announcement by stating that “it gives some relief, but a lot more needs to be given to the State to pull it out of the crisis. Time-bound implementation is also important”.

Naidu, however kept reiterating that the State’s interests would not be compromised, and that his TDP would fight any injustice. “I will not compromise in my lifetime. In the last two-and-a-half years, I have been striving tirelessly for the development,” Naidu said on stated on the floor of the Assembly

“Whatever benefit is due to the State under the SCS for externally-aided projects will also be compensated,” was what Jaitley tried to assure, but his offer was dismissed by the Opposition in the State as nothing more than “a gimmick to divert attention”.

State bandh tomorrow

Jaitley’s announcement and the CM’s response were condemned by principal Opposition YSRC, the Congress and the two Left parties who accused both the BJP and TDP of “betraying the public of the State”. The YSRC and the Left parties have given a call for a State bandh on Saturday, which will be backed by the Congress.

Taking a cue from the statements of State leaders, and take umbrage over Jaitley’s statements, protests and meetings were organised in several cities including Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam, Guntur, Tirupati and Anantapur during the day.

The silver lining that emerged from Jaitley’s announcement seemed to be with reference to the Polavaram project. He made it clear that the Centre would bear the entire cost of the mega project on the Godavari since 2014, when it was included in the AP Reorganisation Act as a ‘national project’. The State Government would execute the project.

AP passes GST Bill

Amid noisy scenes, the AP Legislative Assembly passed a resolution supporting the Goods and Services Tax Bill. With this, AP becomes the 18th State to ratify the 122nd Constitution Amendment Bill. Telangana had unanimously passed a similar resolution ratifying the Centre’s move late last month.

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Published on September 08, 2016
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