UPA would grant AP special status in 2019 if voted to power: Rahul

Guntur: Rahul Gandhi on Sunday said a Congress-led UPA would grant the Special Category Status (SCS) to Andhra Pradesh if it comes to power in 2019 and he attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not doing so.

He said that in run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Modi had promised in front of the Lord Venkateswara temple in Tirupati that if he wins, he would grant the SCS to the state for 10 years.

“But, after becoming Prime Minister, he has denied it. Now tell me what kind of Hindu is he, who lies in front of a temple,” Rahul asked, addressing the ‘Pratyeka Hoda Bharosa Sabha’ organised by the Congress here.

“The SCS is not a gift. This is your right. This right was given to you by a prime minister (Manmohan Singh). Nobody can deny that right. Once we come to power in 2019, our first action will be to grant the SCS to AP,” Rahul promised.

The Congress vice-president also lashed out at the “two parties of AP” for giving up the SCS demand “out of fear”. Several parties in the countries are supporting the demand for SCS to AP but two parties of the state are not, he said.

“Narendra Modi must have exerted some pressure on these two parties. (There is) some fear in their hearts,” Rahul said, in an obvious reference to the ruling Telugu Desam and the lone opposition Y S R Congress.

“If (Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister) Chandrababu (Naidu) and (YSR Congress chief) Jaganmohan Reddy don’t fight for SCS, we will stand together and fight. We will fight in Parliament,” Rahul added.

Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav, CPI leaders Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy, D Raja, DMK leader Elangovan, RJD leader Jayaprakash Narayan Yadav, Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh and others were in attendance.