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Special package, not special status likely for AP?

Andhra Pradesh State’s demand for a special status seemed to be only a mirage as the Union government is actively considering a special package of financial assistance instead of a special status.

This could be surmised from the statements of both the Union Minister of Home Rajnath Singh and Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs M. Venkaiah Naidu in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday in response to the protests and demands from the MPS of the State for a special status.

While Rajnath Singh said the Centre would not let down the aspirations of the people of the two Telugu States and would fulfill all assurances made in the AP Reorganization Act, Venkaiah Naidu clarified that no clause has been incorporated in the AP Reorganization Act for granting a special status to the State of AP. However, the Union Ministry of Finance was examining all possibilities of providing a special package to the residual State to tide over its financial crisis, he assured.

YSR Congress Party MP Mekapati Rajamohan Reddy lashed out at the Centre for denying special status to AP despite an assurance made by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Parliament. Asserting that it was the bounden duty of the NDA government to fulfill the assurances made by the previous regime, he warned that the present unrest among the people of the State on the issue might erupt like a volcano if no assurance comes forth immediately from the Union government.

TDP member Avanthi Srinivas pointed out that the AP State has to be built from the scratch and the State was in a serious financial crisis. Though the Centre had assured to recoup the deficit budget of the State, nothing concrete has been done so far, he lamented and accused the Congress party for being responsible for the financial problems of the AP State in bifurcating the united AP for selfish political ends.

In the meantime, former bureaucrat and founder-president of Lok Satta Party, Jayapraksh Narayan, expressed his doubts about AP getting a special status. While criticizing some political leaders of trying to exploit the issue for selfish ends by instigating agitations, he wanted a united struggle by setting aside party ideologies to achieve the special status to the State. The special status issue seemed to slowly and steadily snowballing into a major movement in the State.

CPI workers took out a rally in Rajahmundry demanding special status to AP and even staged a dharna before the residence of TDP MP Murali Mohan, who had recently threatened to quit from his MP seat for the cause. The CPI workers demanded that the TDP MP lead a struggle for the special status demand. The students in Dharmavaram of Anantapur district also staged a dharna demanding special status to AP. (NSS)