Three CMs opposing special status to AP: Raju

Vijayawada: Union Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju today said while the Centre was considering according the ‘special category state’ status to Andhra Pradesh, three chief ministers were opposed to the move.

On the other hand, AP chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who claimed to have been “relentlessly pursuing” the issue, is understood to have ruled out severing ties with the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.

As the special status issue turned a burning topic in the state, Andhra Intellectuals’ Forum president Chalasani Srinivas today launched an indefinite hunger-strike in Anantapuramu town demanding that the Centre honour its promise made to the state on the eve of the bifurcation.

All these developments are taking place in the wake of recent statements in Parliament by some Union Ministers that according special status to AP was “not possible”.

Speaking to reporters at his hometown Vizianagaram, Raju, the Union Civil Aviation Minister, said the current situation would not have arisen had the special category status issue been incorporated in the AP Reorganisation Act-2014.

“Finance Minister Arun Jaitley spoke in Parliament saying injustice was done to AP (due to bifurcation). The Centre is also considering the special status issue but three Chief Ministers are opposing it,” Raju said.

“The 14th Finance Commission clearly said in its report that in the next five years AP will be left with a revenue deficit of Rs 23,000 crore, while the newly formed Telangana will have a surplus of Rs 1.18 lakh crore. All the power has gone to Telangana, while AP is left with debts (due to bifurcation),” the TDP MP said.

“The Centre should hence give a handholding to AP so that it could become a premier state once again. We will work hard to develop but we need some handholding,” the Union Minister said.

“This would happen only if the Centre and the state worked hand-in-hand. But some forces don’t want this to happen for political reasons,” Raju remarked.

In Vijayawada, Naidu chaired a high-level meeting this evening with senior ministers and party leaders which was attended by some top bureaucrats also.

The Chief Minister reportedly said the TDP would continue to be a part in the NDA government at the Centre and would not severe ties with the BJP.

“Coming out of the NDA will only be detrimental to the interests of the state,” Naidu reportedly said.