Andhra to continue fighting for special category status

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Vijayawada, May 1 (IANS) The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) government in Andhra Pradesh Awill not keep quiet on the issue of special status to the state and will continue to fight for it, a state minister said on Sunday.

Agriculture Minister P. Pulla Rao told reports in Guntur that just because TDP is in the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA), it does not mean that it will keep quiet on the issue of special status.

Though some central ministers have ruled out giving special status to Andhra, the TDP is still pinning hopes on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Pulla Rao said that if Modi refuses to grant special status to Andhra Pradesh, the TDP will chalk out its future course of action.

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Union Minister of State for Home Haribhai Chaudhary had Friday told the Rajya Sabha that there is no need to grant special category status to Andhra, as the opposition Congress had raised the issue through a Private Member’s Bill.

Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has also expressed his displeasure over the central minister’s statement. Naidu, who is also the TDP chief, has been stating that the central government should not only grant special status but should also fulfill other commitments given in parliament and in AP Reorganisation Act. He also wants the central government to do ‘handholding’ till the state develops at par with other southern states.

Chaudhry is the second central minister to make controversial statement on the issue. Earlier, Minister of State for Statistics and Programme Implementation Rao Inderjit Singh had told parliament that no state will be given special status.

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The TDP is also under attack from opposition for failing to get special status even nearly two years after the bifurcation of the state. YSR Congress Party president Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy targeted Naidu on the issue saying he is weakening the state’s case.

Citing the varying stands taken by the TDP chief on the issue on different occasions, he alleged that Naidu sold out state’s interests to the central government.

Jagan recalled that all parties had included the promise of special category status in their manifestos while the Bharatiya Janata Party had gone a step forward promising the special status for a period of 10 years.

The leader of opposition said that prospects of new industries coming to the state have declined as there are no tax concessions in the absence of special status.

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