Special status alone not enough to boost AP growth: Naidu

Vijayawada: Amid Opposition attack over non-realisation of the promise of special status to Andhra Pradesh made during bifurcation of the state, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu today said the Centre needs to help the residuary state liberally.

Alleging that the Congress played “opportunistic” politics prior to the bifurcation last year, he said Andhra Pradesh suffered on various counts following its division.

He also said special status alone would not be enough for comprehensive development of the state.

“…They say everything will be done if special status comes. What will come by special status? Two things will come. What are they? One (is) projects. They will come only if Government of India sanctions. Who has to sanction? Government of India has to give consent for that.

“Secondly, CSS (centrally-sponsored schemes). CSS (allocations) have already come down. If I say that, they (opposition) would say he (Naidu) does not want it (special status). Even if that (special status) is given, it would not be adequate (to ensure development),” he told reporters here.

The promise of special status was made to Seemandhra (new Andhra Pradesh) by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Parliament during a debate on bifurcation last year.

A special status would allow Andhra Pradesh to get financial assistance from the Centre mainly in form of grants, which need not be paid back. Such a state also gets a slew of other benefits.

Union Minister Rao Inderjit Singh had recently said in Parliament that special status would not be given to states any more.

Opposition YSR Congress Party, Congress and Left parties have since stepped up their agitation for realising the promise of special status.

The issue took an emotional turn with a Congress worker allegedly setting himself on fire at a public meeting organised by the party at Tirupati last week in support of the special status issue. The man later succumbed to burns.

Naidu said yesterday that he spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and M Venkaiah Naidu regarding the promise of special status.

He also said yesterday that he would meet the Prime Minister after August 15 to discuss special status and other promises made to AP.

The Chief Minister has been saying that the Centre needs to help the State till it reaches a position where it can compete with other states in development.