Opposition’s Andhra shutdown on Saturday over special status

Vijayawada, Sep 8 (IANS) The opposition parties in Andhra Pradesh on Thursday called for a statewide shutdown on September 10 to protest against what they dubbed as the Centre’s denial of special category status to the state.

The main opposition YSR Congress Party appealed to the people to voluntarily participate in the shutdown on Saturday to convey their strong sentiments to the state and the central governments.

The Congress, the Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India-Marxist and Forum for Achieving Special Status also called for the shutdown.

The opposition parties and other groups staged protests across the state over what they called the betrayal of the people by the Telugu Desam Party-led state government and the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre.

They termed Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s statement on the matter disappointing, saying a package can’t be a substitute for special status. They alleged that the BJP had gone back on its word to grant special status to Andhra Pradesh.

Activists of the opposition parties organised road blockades and took out rallies and raised slogans against the state and central governments.

Protests were also held in front of the central government offices in Vijaywada, Visakhapatnam and other places.

Chalasani Srinivas of the Forum for Achieving Special Status said the special status and package were the state’s right and not a charity by the Centre.

The opposition parties targeted Chief Minister and TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu for welcoming the package.

Jaitley on Wednesday said the state could not be accorded special category status in view of the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission.

He, however, announced that the state will be provided monetary compensation through externally aided projects.

Activists of the YSR Congress Party, the Congress and the left parties tried to hold protests in front of the assembly building in Hyderabad. YSR Congress legislators wore black shirts in the state assembly as a mark of protest.

State Congress chief N. Raghuveera Reddy led a protest in Anantapur district. He announced that the party will block 10 national highways in the state on Saturday.

–IANS

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