Special status: TDP MPs protest in Parliament

New Delhi, Aug 1 (IANS) Unhappy over the Centre’s stand on special status to Andhra Pradesh, TDP, a partner in NDA government, on Monday staged protests both inside and outside Parliament.

Seeking immediate announcement for special status, the MPs of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) tried to disrupt the proceedings in the Lok Sabha.

Holding placards and raising slogans in support of their demands, the TDP members in the Lok Sabha began the protest as soon as the house met for the day. They rushed to the speaker’s podium, demanding that the government fulfill its commitments under Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan repeatedly appealed to members to return to their seats but they continued the protest. The Speaker conducted the proceedings amid the uproar before adjourning the proceedings till 2 p.m.

Earlier, the TDP members of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha staged a protest at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Parliament complex. They held placards and raised slogan ‘We want justice’.

“We want justice for Andhra Pradesh. Save Andhra Pradesh,” read one of the placards.

Galla Jayadev, one of the Lok Sabha members, said they had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking special status and adequate help to the state. He said the Centre should fulfill the promises and assurances.

“We are ready to whatever it takes. Leaving government or leaving our positions, it doesn’t matter,” the MP from Guntur said.

TDP, a constituent of the NDA, has two ministers in the Union ministry.

TDP President and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu was monitoring the developments in Delhi over television at his office in Vijayawada. He was also issuing direction to the party MPs.

The TDP decided to launch protest to bring pressure on the BJP-led government after Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitely told the Rajya Sabha last week that Andhra Pradesh can’t be granted special status but the Centre would handhold the state until it became economically stable.

Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu, who hails from Andhra Pradesh, on Monday met the Prime Minister to brief him on the developments in the state. The senior BJP leader is believed to have conveyed to Modi that growing distance with an ally would not be good for the coalition.

Later, Venkaiah Naidu along with TDP leader and central minister Y.S. Chowdary called on Jaitely to discuss the developments in the wake of TDP’s protest in Parliament.

In another development, Union Minister of State for Planning Rao Inderjit Singh told the Rajya Sabha that Andhra Pradesh was so far given a central assistance of Rs 6,403 crore. This includes Rs 2,803 crore for bridging the revenue deficit.

In reply to a question, he said seven backward districts of the state were provided Rs 700 crore while Rs 2,050 crore was given for the development of new state capital and Rs 850 crore for Polavaram project.

–IANS

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