Will escalate fight with Centre on AP promises, says TDP

Amaravati: The Telugu Desam Party today said it will “step-by-step escalate” its fight inside Parliament till the Centre addresses Andhra Pradesh s concerns related to the implementation of the promises made in the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014.

The Budget session of the Parliament resumes on March 5.

Party leaders said it will also launch a legal battle against the Centre in the Supreme Court to get the provisions of the Reorganisation Act, and assurances given by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the Rajya Sabha, fully implemented.

“We will not reveal right now what we will do but we will escalate our fight step-by-step till our concerns related to 19 items, including according special category status (SCS) to the state, are specifically addressed.”

“As a first step we will write a letter to all parties in Parliament explaining why we have taken the agitation mode and will seek their support to get the promises made in the Reorganisation Act fulfilled,” TDP MPs Thota Narasimham, Jayadev Galla and K Rammohan Naidu said.

The MPs were briefing the media after a four-hour long meeting with TDP supremo and Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu here this afternoon.

The MPs said they have raised the demand for SCS afresh because the Centre had failed to implement the special assistance measures it announced in September 2016 in lieu of granting special status.

“There are 19 issues in all, including the SCS. We want all of them fully implemented. We will see if certain amendments favourable to AP are tabled in Parliament when the Budget session resumes. Otherwise, we will oppose the Finance Bill 2018-19,” the TDP MPs asserted.

The party would also take up a legal battle against the Centre in Supreme Court to get the promises made in the Act honoured, they added. “We will use all options,” the MPs said.

“The Telugu Desam Parliamentary Party will write letters to the presidents of all political parties as well as floor leaders in Parliament explaining why, despite being a partner in the coalition government, the TDP has chosen to disrupt Parliament,” the TDP lawmakers said.

“We will remind them of the promises made in the Reorganisation Act as well as the assurances given by the then Prime Minister in February 2014. This has already become a national issue and we will seek the support of all parties in our fight for justice for AP,” they added.

They, however, remained evasive when asked if the TDP would move a no-confidence motion against the Narendra Modi government.

Asked about the meeting TDP MP Rammohan Naidu and AP Planning Board vice-chairman C Kutumba Rao had with BJP chief Amit Shah in New Delhi yesterday, the MPs said Shah “just took a briefing” on the contentious issues.

“There has been no response from him,” the MPs pointed out.

Replying to another question, they said Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had asked the state to come up with a formula to bridge the revenue deficit, an issue that has been a key point of dispute between AP and the Centre in the ongoing tussle.

While the state pegged the revenue deficit for the year 2014-15 at Rs 16,078 crore, the Centre cut it down to just over Rs 4,000 crore.

“There is no point in asking us to come up with a formula. We will ask for everything,” MP Jayadev observed, referring to the huge variation in the amount quoted by the Centre and the state.