Amid TDP’s crucial support at Centre, demand for "Special category Status" to Andhra comes to fore

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu during a public meeting in Palnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Sunday, March 17, 2024.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu during a public meeting in Palnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Sunday, March 17, 2024.

Amaravati | The long pending demand of "Special Category Status" for Andhra Pradesh has once again gained momentum after the N Chandrababu Naidu-led TDP's support became crucial for the formation of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.

Telugu Desam party and Janasena won 16 and two MPs seats respectively from AP, which could prove to be crucial for forming the coalition government at the Centre, with BJP lacking the numbers this time to form a government on its own.

The BJP in its poll campaigns during the run up to the 2014 General Elections promised that the SCS would be accorded to Andhra Pradesh if voted to power.

SCS, which was about additional central funds among others, was promised to Andhra Pradesh by the then central Congress government in the wake of the southern state's bifurcation and the creation of Telangana in 2014.

However, it was shelved for various reasons including enhancement of devolution of funds to the states from 30 per cent to 41 per cent.

Replying to a query in the parliament, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharama in June 2019 said there was no proposal under consideration of the Central Government for grant of Special Category Status though there were requests from Odisha, Rajasthan, Bihar, Telangana, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh.

According to her, SCS for plan assistance was granted in the past by the National Development Council (NDC) to some States that were characterised by a number of features necessitating special consideration.

When contacted, former IPS officer and Jai Bharat National Party founder V V Lakshminarayana said this is an "opportune moment" to demand the SCS for Ap as TDP’s support at the Centre became crucial.

The BJP did not live up to its word in the past 10 years and even went to the extent of asserting that the SCS was a closed chapter, which was replaced by a 'Special Package', which was welcomed by TDP supremo Naidu when he was the CM between 2014 and 2018.

The outgoing Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy castigated Naidu for accepting the Special package.

Later, TDP took a u-turn and demanded the then central government for the grant of SCS and finally severed ties with NDA in 2018

Political analyst Telakapalli Ravi said the TDP should demand the BJP to accord SCS for the state given the fact that its support at the Centre is crucial.

He however, said the status may not be possible now as already ten long years have passed after the bifurcation of the state.

Senior Journalist S Nagesh Kumar said the TDP should focus more on demanding funds to construct capital Amaravati and finish the Polavaram project instead of seeking SCS or Special package which was offered in lieu of the status.

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